Utah Jazz: Williams dodges, talks upcoming season
Two weeks before the start of training camp, Deron Williams was on the Jazz practice court Saturday firing dodgeballs hard enough to bring a smile to your face yet leave you holding your breath all at the same time.
"I'm a competitor," said Williams, who emerged unscathed aside from a sore shoulder.
It was all in good fun as Williams and Kyle Korver co-hosted their first "Dodge Barrage" charity tournament, which drew some 40 teams and raised an estimated $10,000 for The Christmas Box House shelters for children.
The event was so successful, thanks to a series of Internet videos they produced, that Williams and Korver had to accommodate eight extra teams. Williams said next year's event might need a convention-center sized space.
With the season only days away, both Williams and Korver expressed surprise that the Jazz appear set to bring back 12 players from last season's team that stumbled to an eighth-place conference finish and was eliminated from the playoffs in the first round.
"It's a surprise, but it's out of my control," Williams said.
After stressing to reporters in July that the Jazz had a long offseason to make moves, Williams said Saturday: "There's still stuff that can be done, but right now, we've got the team we've got. That's what we're riding with right now. That's what you've got to go with."
That team for now includes Carlos Boozer, who is set to return to Utah after campaigning for a trade this summer and even naming Chicago and Miami as preferred destinations in a series of interviews.
Asked if he was concerned about the potential distraction Boozer presents, Williams said: "I'm sure there's going to be a lot of questions that have to be answered, but a lot of that's from Carlos. I've said I want to be here. I don't have any questions to answer."
Williams said he had not spoken to Boozer recently and didn't want to venture a guess about how things would play out should Boozer return.
"We won't know until we get there," Williams said. "I hope it doesn't cause any problems. I hope we can just start fresh and have a great year. As long as he's on our team, he's my teammate, and that's what we're riding with."
Korver, meanwhile, said he was "a little bit" concerned about his right wrist after undergoing surgery in May to remove scar tissue. He has been working with therapists and said his wrist had improved the last two weeks but was uncertain he'd be ready for camp.
"This team as put together has shown it can be very good," said Korver, who added that he had yet to talk with the Jazz about a contract extension this summer. "It's just got to be put together."