San Antonio • Having eight players bound for free agency may be taking a toll on the Jazz, coach Tyrone Corbin said Friday, and could be partly to blame for the team’s late-season struggles.
“It may have a little something to do with where we are,” Corbin said. “We can’t do anything about it. We’ve got to play our way through it, that stuff we can’t do anything about until it’s time to do something about it.”
Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson headline a large group of Jazz players who will be unrestricted once the season ends, and Corbin said factors such as wanting to produce bigger numbers and not getting hurt could impact individuals’ performances at this point in the year.
“All that stuff could come into play,” Corbin said. “I’ve been a free agent before. You’ve got a lot of things that come into play now.”
In addition to the two frontcourt leaders, Mo Williams, DeMarre Carroll, Randy Foye, Earl Watson and Jamaal Tinsley all will be seeking new contracts. Raja Bell, who was waived by the Jazz earlier this month, was also set to become a free agent. Marvin Williams, acquired by the Jazz last summer, has a player option on his contract, but is scheduled to make $7.5 million next year. On Wednesday, Williams said he had not considered whether he would opt out of his deal.
On Friday, Millsap took issue with a quote attributed to him in The Salt Lake Tribune. In a Friday story about Corbin benching Millsap and Mo Williams in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s loss, a quote was attributed to Millsap that portrayed him as having accepted that his role was changing. On Thursday, he said he was referring just to Wednesday’s game.
After consideration of an audio recording, it was clear that Millsap’s comments, which were part of a larger quote, were misreported.
The Jazz forward actually said, “I want to be on the court at all times. Obviously, it can’t be that way. Got to live with it.”
No going back-to-back
The Jazz are two-thirds of the way through a rare three-game road trip in which they have a day off between each game. It’s rare to play all three Texas teams with space between the games.
However, Corbin wasn’t seeing that as much of an advantage for his team.
“It’s good to have a day to prepare for them,” he said, “but this late in the season you can’t kill yourself on the practice floor because guys are beat up already.”
Corbin said the breaks allowed for time to “look at what’s going, what you’re getting,” but that it was better utilized by watching film than “actually getting on the floor and killing it.”