Darrell Griffith, who turned 30 today, is the only possible surprise on the Jazz's unprotected list for next Thursday's NBA expansion list.
The Jazz's available five: Griffith, Kelly Tripucka, Rickey Green, Scott Roth and Eddie Hughes.They're protecting, among others, Bart Kofoed and Mel Turpin.
The secret lists of the 23 teams' exposed players appeared in the Charlotte Observer, as provided by an NBA source. Jazz president David Checketts has confirmed the Jazz list.
Each team will lose one player to Miami or Charlotte next week. Among the recognizable names are Atlanta's Randy Wittman, Houston's Robert Reid, the L.A. Clipper's Norm Nixon, Philadelphia's Albert King, Phoenix's Walter Davis and Sacramento's Jawann Oldham.
The Jazz possibilities:
- Griffith: While he's the biggest Jazz name on the list and has played seven years in Utah, he's probably the least likely to be taken. Griffith will make at least $685,000 for the next four years and is coming off knee surgery from February, having recovered from a broken foot that caused him to miss the 1985-86 season.
- Tripucka: He still wants out of Utah and this may be the way. The Charlotte coach is Dick Harter, most recently an Indiana assistant but a Detroit assistant for part of K.T.'s stay with the Pistons. Tripucka, 29, will make about $1 million for each of three more seasons, but is a two-time All-Star who could carry an expansion team in the early years.
- Green: Based on the playoffs, the Jazz obviously have no plans for him, even though at mid season they guaranteed his contract through next year. Green will be 34 in August and has a good year or more left and could be attractive to a team looking to start with a veteran point guard.
- Roth and Hughes: They joined the Jazz in January and February, respectively, and had some good moments, but appeared only briefly in the playoffs. If not taken Thursday, they'll be on the borderline for Jazz roster spots next fall.
The Jazz, no doubt, are hoping either Tripucka or Green is taken next week, because they know they have to move them one way or another, probably with little return in a trade. Protecting Kofoed and Turpin increased the chances that Tripucka or Green would go, because the young, aggressive Kofoed and Turpin, a center, would have been strong expansion candidates.
Other unprotected players have Jazz connections - Boston's Fred Roberts, the Bingham High/BYU player who spent two seasons with the Jazz; Cleveland's Dell Curry, the Jazz's 1986 first-round draft choice; Cleveland's Kent Benson, who came with Tripucka in the 1986 Adrian Dantley trade; Washington's Tyrone Bogues, the player the Jazz wanted in last June's draft; and Phoenix's Jeff Cook, who played two games for the Jazz in 1986.