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News » Brewer hoping to get contract extension

Brewer hoping to get contract extension

Brewer hoping to get contract extension PORTLAND, Ore. ? In a building where it just wouldn't drop last postseason, his shot was falling liberally over the weekend. But his defense, according to coach Jerry Sloan, needs to be a bit more conservative. And as for his future in Utah, Ronnie Brewer's is as confused as a blue in a red state.

"That's not really in my hands right now," Brewer said of the call on whether or not he'll come to agreement on an extension of his rookie contract with the Jazz , which is something that must be decided by the end of the month. "If it happens it happens," added Brewer, who apparently wants it to happen ? but would become a restricted free agent if no agreement is reached soon. "I mean, I just feel like it's a great opportunity. I enjoy playing (in Utah). But my focus is on just getting better this year, and helping this team out." Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor has vowed to talk this week with Brewer's agent about a possible extension ? up to five new seasons can be added ? but he's unwilling to characterize the likelihood of a deal. "I can't say if anything will get done or not, but we'll have conversations about it," said O'Connor, who is traveling with the team on a road trip that included two preseason games in Los Angeles over the weekend and another tonight at Portland. "It's not something that we're gonna ignore." At last check, the sides seemed to be rather far apart on prospective terms. "It's tough to tell right now. I try to stay optimistic," Brewer said. "I think we have a good young core group of guys, so hopefully I can get something rolling. But, if not, I have to play the same way I played last year, make some improvements and hopefully I can stay here." One area with ample room for improvement would be his outside shooting. Brewer struggled so much during last season's playoffs that Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant didn't even bother to guard him on the perimeter, making it quite tough for Jazz bigs inside. But the University of Arkansas product drafted No. 14 overall in 2006 did hit a combined 8-of-14, including 1-for-2 from 3-point range, in Jazz exhibition games at the Staples Center against the L.A. Clippers on Saturday and Charlotte on Sunday. That includes five jumpers en route to scoring 12 points over a team-high 40 minutes in a win over the Bobcats. Yet it's improved defense on Brewer's part that seems to concern Jazz coach Jerry Sloan most ? and will weigh heavily on whether or not Brewer, who averaged 1.7 steals per game last season, is on the floor late in close regular-season games. "Ronnie's got to quit chasing the ball so much on the defensive end," Sloan said. "He chases the ball a lot looking for steals, and doesn't play solid Basketball all the time. "A couple of those at the end (Sunday's) game could have cost us a ballgame when you're trying to get steals instead of getting back and getting set up defensively." JUST MAKE IT: First-round rookie point guard Eric Maynor has been having a tough time so far in the preseason making his floater, a staple shot for him at Virginia Commonwealth. Sloan, for one, hopes he can (re)learn to get it down. "If you don't make that shot," he said, "that's a fastbreak most of the time going the other way ? because he's deep, and everybody else is running through, and bigs have a tough time getting out of there and getting on the other end of the floor." The Jazz coach has a hunch as to why Maynor has been having a tough time. "He's playing against bigger people ... and guys get after him a little bit harder. And he's got a little bit more pressure on him," Sloan said. "But he'll be fine if he just keeps working at it." HMMM: The Jazz evidently haven't had an easy time selling out their regular-season home opener, scheduled for Oct. 30 vs. the Clippers. At their last preseason home game, a deal was being offered for $22 that included a $32 ticket ? and a hot dog. e-mail:

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Added: October 21, 2009


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