The Utah Jazz will see three former teammates Friday night in Boise, where they play Portland in their second preseason game.
Point guards Mo Williams and Earl Watson signed with the Trail Blazers during the offseason, and shooting guard Wesley Matthews signed with Portland in 2010.
“It’s just part of the business, man,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said before his team practiced Thursday morning. “It’s hard to see the guys go, especially the good guys.
“The main thing is to see them continue to play NBA basketball. I’m happy they have the opportunity to continue their careers. It’s unfortunate they aren’t with us, but it’s part of the business.”
Portland opened its preseason Wednesday night, when Phoenix defeated the Trail Blazers 104-98. Williams had nine points and seven assists in 26 minutes. Matthews finished with four points, and Watson did not play.
The “reunion” aspect of the Utah-Portland game will be a common thread throughout the season for the Jazz, who also watched Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, DeMarre Carroll and Randy Foye move to new teams last summer.
Jefferson signed with Charlotte, Millsap and Carroll signed with Atlanta, and Foye was traded to Denver.
In addition, former Jazz assistant Jeff Hornacek is now the head coach in Phoenix.
Jazz center Enes Kanter admits playing against friends can be difficult, but he quickly added, “When you are on the court, it doesn’t matter. You try to beat them.”
Using the roster
Corbin managed to get 15 of his 18 healthy players into the Jazz’s first preseason game — a 101-78 victory over Golden State on Tuesday night.
Not including Marvin Williams and Brandon Rush, who continue to rehab injuries, free agents Brian Cook, Dwayne Jones and Lester Hudson were the only players who did not see any action.
That could change against Portland.
“I’d like to get the other guys in games — guys who worked so hard in training camp,” Corbin said. “I’d like to get them an opportunity.”
The Jazz started Trey Burke, Gordon Hayward, Richardon Jefferson, Derrick Favors and Kanter against the Warriors.
Asked if he planned to start the same group against Portland, Corbin hesitated.
“We’re going to look at it,” he said. “Because we want to get more guys in the game, maybe [starting] a couple of different guys would be the way to go.”
Young guys shine
The Jazz received solid production from Favors and Kanter in their win over Golden State.
Favors finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds in 25 minutes. Kanter, who is coming off shoulder surgery, had 10 points and four rebounds in 20 minutes in his first game since April.
“I feel better,” Kanter said. “My shoulder feels better. … “I’m not scared of any contact or anything. I don’t feel any pain. I’m still a little rusty, but I’ve been working on it with my coaches and my teammates, so it’s going to get there.”
Corbin liked the way Favors and Kanter played together — something that will be critical to the Jazz’s development this season.
“It’s one thing we talked about the last two years,” Corbin said. “We wanted those guys to get [comfortable] being on the floor together, and that time is now.
“They will continue their growth ... as go-to guys. We will go to them more. They play off each other very well. They’ve learned to read each other and that will continue.”