Negotiations are ongoing between the Utah Jazz and free agent small forward Josh Howard, The Salt Lake Tribune learned Saturday.
ESPN reported Saturday the Jazz have made an offer to Howard, who is being pursued by Utah and reportedly San Antonio, Chicago, Washington, New Jersey and Denver.
A source told The Tribune talks with Howard are active but would not confirm a hard offer has been made and said nothing is imminent.
The Jazz are still talking with representatives for several free agents. Utah is content to begin the 2011-12 season with its roster as-is, but the organization is open to making additional moves to improve the team.
The point guard position appears to be set with an initial rotation of Devin Harris, Earl Watson and Jamaal Tinsley. The Jazz are stacked in the frontcourt with Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Mehmet Okur, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Jeremy Evans.
The shooting guard and small forward positions remain open, though, and Utah has been in the market for an upgrade at the 3 since free agency talks started following a tentative end to the NBA lockout. Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin hasn't set his rotation at either spot, leaving C.J. Miles, Gordon Hayward, Raja Bell, Alec Burks and perhaps Millsap to compete for time.
Howard, an eight-year veteran, has seen his once-promising career tail off the last two seasons and played in just 18 games for Washington during 2010-11. He was a key asset for Dallas from 2003-10, though, and has averaged 15.1 points and 5.9 rebounds during 453 games.
As for shooting guard, the Jazz are weighing the price they must pay for a proven veteran versus the desire to get Hayward, Miles and Burks time on the court.
A package trade also remains a possibility for Utah, but the organization is expected to see how its team operates during training camp before making any major decisions.
Brian T. Smith