Jazz: Reserve role tough for Millsap
However it affects his decisions as a restricted free agent, Paul Millsap admitted Tuesday that he struggled with having to come off the bench after Carlos Boozer 's return from knee surgery.
"I want to say it wasn't difficult," Millsap said, "but at times, never knowing what was going to happen kind of weighs on you, never knowing really how many minutes you're going to play, when you're going to go into the game, when you're going to come out."
Whether he winds up as a starter or a reserve next season, Millsap said he was "going to continue to be humble and accept my role." Millsap is in line for a significant raise from the $797,581 he made this season, though the Jazz can match any offer from another team.
"I'll fit in anywhere, seeing how hard I work and what I bring to the table," Millsap said. "I feel like if I go wherever I go, I'm going to give it my all."
In addition to Boozer, both Mehmet Okur and Kyle Korver can opt out of their contracts and become free agents, with Okur set to make $9 million and Korver $5.2 million next season. Both indicated a desire to stay and/or sign extensions with the Jazz.
Okur called Utah his "second home" while Korver was asked how he could leave a team that plastered his face on such a large billboard along 600 South to advertise playoff tickets.
"The first time I saw it, I almost wrecked and quite possibly could have killed myself," Korver joked. "It was probably the scariest picture of me I've ever seen.
"I really like it here, I like the team, I love the city. It's so much more than I thought I was getting into when I got traded here."
Deron Williams offered an honest assessment when asked if he was concerned about the Jazz's direction in the wake of the first-round loss to the Lakers.
"We've kind of regressed the last couple years," Williams said. "We went to the Western Conference finals, then the second round and now the first round and really didn't put up much of a fight. We've kind of taken a couple steps backwards, which is not good."
Andrei Kirilenko said there was nothing out of the ordinary, as he typically enters a season weighing around 226 pounds and loses about 10 pounds by the end. Yet he heard concern again during Tuesday's exit meeting about his weight loss this season.
"He's got to work a little harder off the court to make himself strong enough to be consistent night in and night out," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said.
Kirilenko said: "I never concentrate on that in my life, in my career, but obviously it's been brought to my attention, so I'll try to concentrate a little bit more."
Matt Harpring said he was planning to return next season and would not need any surgeries this offseason. ... Kirilenko (Russia), Kyrylo Fesenko (Ukraine) and Kosta Koufos (Greece) all have national team commitments this summer. ... Okur estimated he would need a month of rest to heal his strained right hamstring.