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Utah Jazz: Price, Collins also free agents of note

Published June 29, 2009 9:13 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

For all the attention being paid to Carlos Boozer , Mehmet Okur and Paul Millsap at the start of free agency, the Jazz have four other players last season who will hit the market late tonight.

Ronnie Price and Jarron Collins , in particular, are interesting cases. Price had spent two seasons buried on the point guard depth chart only to break through in the Jazz's season-ending Game 5 loss to the Lakers in the playoffs.

Jazz coach Jerry Sloan admitted afterward that he probably made a mistake by not finding a greater role for Price. After last week's draft, Sloan suggested that Price would be re-signed as the team's third point guard along with Deron Williams and rookie Eric Maynor .

Those comments, though, came as a surprise to Price's agent, Mike Higgins , who said Monday that he hadn't heard an "ounce of interest" from the Jazz about Price since the season and "just assumed they were going to move on."

"I think Ronnie's kind of prepared himself for a while to find another home," Higgins said. "We just thought there wasn't a lot of interest on the Jazz's part."

Higgins said he was eager to hear whether Price was a part of the Jazz's plans. "I think there's been some opportunities for him to play and he didn't," Higgins said. "We'll see what they're looking for."

Collins, meanwhile, is waiting to learn if he'll be back for a ninth season. The elbow injury that limited him to only 26 games last season has healed and Collins has been working out daily in Los Angeles.

Although the Jazz exercised an option to bring back Kyrylo Fesenko and drafted Michigan State center Goran Suton in the second round, Collins long has been a Sloan favorite for his willingness to do the little things.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Utah Jazz as an organization," said Collins, who started in the playoffs when Mehmet Okur was out with a hamstring strain, "and all my teammates and all the fans that have been so great to me.

"Of course, I'd love to be back, but with Paul Millsap and potentially other players out there that there are decisions to be made about, I'm just waiting to see what happens. I just have to be patient and see what opportunities are out there for me."

Morris Almond and Brevin Knight also are free agents, though neither is expected to return. The Jazz also have an exclusive window from the start of free agency through Oct. 31 to negotiate a contract extension with Ronnie Brewer .

Briefly

Former UNLV point guard Kevin Kruger will play for the Jazz's summer-league team in Orlando, Fla., Higgins said. Kruger has played for the NBA Development League's Utah Flash the last two seasons.

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