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Jazz stand pat, get ready for big offseason

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The trade deadline passed Thursday without the Utah Jazz dealing either power forward Paul Millsap or center Al Jefferson, leaving intact a team that is seven games above .500 entering the stretch run toward the playoffs.

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Millsap and Jefferson have been considered trade bait because of their expiring contracts. The team has seven players with expiring contracts and only $25 million in salary commitments for next season.

The 6-foot-8 Millsap was considered the most expendable, not because he wasn't producing but because third-year pro Derrick Favors is waiting in the wings.

Millsap has started all 55 games for the Jazz this season, averaging 15 points and 7.4 rebounds.

The 21-year-old Favors is averaging 9.4 points and 6.2 rebounds and is the team's top shot-blocker with 70.

The team also chose not to deal disgruntled guard Raja Bell, who has not been with the team all year despite a $3.48 million salary.

Mo Williams acknowledged counting down the minutes to the deadline.

``After Thursday, we'll take a deep breath,'' he said at practice earlier this week.

Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin has said he loves every player with the team, calling them Utah Jazz kind of players.

Utah has won three straight and seven of its last 10 to pull within percentage points of sixth place in the Western Conference playoff race behind Golden State.

They've held it together despite being without Williams since late December. And playmaker Gordon Hayward only returned Tuesday after missing 10 games with a sprained right shoulder.

Guard Randy Foye, who has helped Utah with his 3-point shooting, said the team has its eye on the No. 4 spot in the West and home-court advantage.

Foye, like Millsap, knew the Jazz had plenty of options as the deadline approached.

``One thing about me, if your name is being called, obviously somebody wants you,'' Millsap said this week. ``When they stop talking about you is when you should be concerned.''

Millsap started all 55 games for the Jazz this season, averaging 15 points and 7.3 rebounds.

Millsap nearly left Salt Lake City in 2009 when Portland signed him to an offer sheet. But the Jazz matched it. He became a starter in 2010.

Millsap has never been a look-at-me player, preferring to keep his head down and his voice low as he continued to expand his game and extend his range as the Jazz experimented with using him at small forward.

Millsap was scheduled to earn $7.2 million this year.

Jefferson's contract ($15 million) was worth twice that as he is considered one of the elite big men in the league.

Now the Jazz will have even more options this summer though they risk losing both Millsap and Jefferson.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2016
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
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