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News » Utah Jazz: No what-ifs for Millsap and Blazers

Utah Jazz: No what-ifs for Millsap and Blazers

Utah Jazz: No what-ifs for Millsap and Blazers It will be his first game against Portland since the summer, but don't expect Paul Millsap to spend much time tonight considering what might have been had the Jazz not matched the four-year, $32 million offer sheet Millsap signed in July with the Trail Blazers.

For one thing, Millsap's preference all along was to stay in Utah. For another, Millsap never talked to either Portland coach Nate McMillan or general manager Kevin Pritchard during the process, as he said again Wednesday.

That continues to raise questions about whether Portland's primary interest was acquiring Millsap as a restricted free agent or sticking it to the Jazz with a front-loaded contract to inflict maximum financial sting.

"You never know what other teams want with you," Millsap said. "They could possibly have traded me. Who knows? I didn't really want to go down that road and see what was at the end of that road. That's why I just wanted it to be easy and just be here."

From Deron Williams ' perspective, Portland's intentions were more the latter than former. "I'm not going to speculate, but you have to think something like that," Williams said. "Either that or they were going to sign him and use him for a trade. Who knows?"

For his part, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan expressed no disapproval at Portland's actions, noting that Utah had signed Corey Maggette and Jason Terry to offer sheets as restricted free agents in the past.

"That's the rules," Sloan said. "We've signed a couple guys under those conditions, gave them a contract, they ended up going to other places, and that's just part of the business."

Millsap said he believed he would have played in Portland and noted the similarities between playing behind LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden with the Trail Blazers to playing behind Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur with the Jazz .

Williams, meanwhile, offered a strong endorsement to keeping Millsap this summer and did so again Wednesday.

"I think he's a big part of our plan in the future," Williams said. "A lot of people look at him as a backup, as a role player. I don't. I think he can be more than that. I've seen more than that in him."


Kirilenko away

Andrei Kirilenko will miss preseason games tonight and Saturday to return to Russia to attend to a family matter, the Jazz said Wednesday.

Kirilenko is expected to rejoin the Jazz for Sunday's game in Los Angeles. The matter is not health-related and Kirilenko's absence is excused.

With Kirilenko out, the Jazz could have greater opportunity to experiment with playing Millsap at small forward.

Kirilenko came off the bench in the Jazz's two most recent preseason games, with Ronnie Brewer and rookie Wesley Matthews starting at the two wing spots.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 17, 2009


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