The agent for Mo Williams said Saturday that the Utah Jazz point guard never "demanded" a starting role in order to re-sign with with the team that drafted him, as a Yahoo! Sports story reported a day earlier.
"Mo and I never have demanded anything," Mark Bartelstein told The Tribune. "We never would demand anything. That story complete mischaracterized the conversation."
Starting Monday, free agents can begin negotiating with teams but can not sign until July 15. In 46 games last year, Williams averaged 12.9 points, 6.2 assists and 2.7 turnovers.
His future with the team was cast into doubt this week when the Jazz traded up in Thursday's draft to acquire Michigan point guard Trey Burke. The consensus college player of the year was selected ninth by Minnesota and traded to the Jazz for the 14th and 21st picks in the draft. He was the first point guard drafted and considered the top playmaking prospect on the board.
While the Jazz have said they will bring Burke along slowly and not necessarily make him the starter for the season opener, there's no doubt they see that as his ultimate future. That means Williams, who has started 365 of his 478 games, may not find a return to the Jazz as appealing.
The dispute may be semantic, but Bartelstein said Williams is not limiting himself only to opportunities to be a starting point guard. The 30-year-old was a sixth man with the Los Angeles Clippers after the arrival of Chris Paul in 2011-12, and Bartelstein said he can thrive in that role, as a "35-minute a night, Ginobili type," as well.
"Mo is going to have an open mind," Bartelstein said. "There's going to be a lot of different opportunities out there."
While Williams may be moving on, sources told The Tribune another veteran point guard very much wants to stay. Jamaal Tinsley, 35, was 20-12 as a starter last season and wants to re-up with the Jazz. He enjoyed the last two seasons in the organization and finds the idea of mentoring the 20-year-old Burke very appealing.
— Bill Oram