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Corbin will consider moving Hayward to Jazz's bench once Bell returns

Published March 5, 2012 10:30 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Sacramento, Calif. — Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin still hasn't made up his mind and there's no guarantee he'll do anything.

But while Corbin waits for veteran guard Raja Bell to return from a strained left adductor, he acknowledged Tuesday he's considering making a surprising change to Utah's starting lineup.

There's a chance Corbin could move second-year small forward Gordon Hayward to the bench and promote Josh Howard, likely teaming him with Devin Harris, Bell, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson.

Why would Hayward possibly be demoted? Because Corbin thinks linking him with reserves such as Earl Watson, C.J. Miles and Derrick Favors could give the Jazz's second unit a spark.

"Gordon would give us a little more versatility. Put the ball in his hands and go to him a little more, in that case," Corbin said Tuesday, before tipoff against the Kings. "We'll see. Right now, it's so premature until we get healthy and see what we can do."

A decision could be made soon, though, if it's solely based off Bell's health. The veteran guard will sit out Utah's contest against Sacramento. But he said after a Tuesday morning shootaround his strained left adductor is feeling better, and he ran through solo pregame warmup drills as if he was preparing to suit up.

"We'll wait and see. We've got to be able to spice up the second group a little bit and get some scoring," Corbin said. "What gives us the best chance of doing that until we get everybody on the floor again, we'll see, and maybe make an adjustment when Raja come[s] back."

If Hayward's moved to the second unit, all four of the Jazz's lottery picks from 2010 and 2011 would be coming off the bench.

The 21-year-old Hayward ranks third on the team in average points (9.4), assists (3.2) and minutes (27.7). He'd started all 32 games for Utah heading into Tuesday's game against the Kings.

Corbin first mentioned altering the Jazz's starting lineup last Wednesday, following Utah's 100-98 last-second road loss to Minnesota.Brian T. SmithTwitter: @tribjazz