Utah Jazz notes: Williams to play for USA
Even if the Jazz fail to advance past the first round of the playoffs again this season, Deron Williams already knows he is looking ahead to a shorter summer in 2010.
Williams said Sunday that he has committed to play for USA Basketball at next summer's FIBA world championships in Turkey and already has received a preliminary schedule leading up to the event.
Having played on the gold-medal winning "Redeem Team" at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Williams wasn't sure of how many of his teammates were similarly committed to return next summer.
But Williams said the world championships were anything but an afterthought following the Olympics.
"Not at all," Williams said. "We want to keep it going. You don't just get to be in the Olympics just because you're the U.S.A. You've got to go out there and earn your spot. So we have to qualify first, and hopefully we can do that next summer."
It will be the third time in four years that Williams will have played for USA Basketball, including a 2007 qualifying tournament in Las Vegas. Among the rest of the Jazz, Andrei Kirilenko , Mehmet Okur and Kosta Koufos all could play for their respective countries.
"We'll beat up on those guys a little bit," Williams said. "It'll be fun."
Any given Sunday
Two weeks after the Jazz season ended, C.J. Miles went to work training in New York. He was joined by two unlikely suspects -- Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and Jacksonville Jaguars safety Courtney Greene .
The three not only are friends, but they also share the same strength coach. Although Miles didn't do exactly the same program as Rice and Greene, he did take part in some NFL agility drills to improve his quickness and reaction time.
"It was a new way to train and it was with friends, so we'd push each other," Miles said.
For the first time in three summers, Miles wasn't a free agent and didn't have to worry about his contract situation, with the Jazz having matched the four-year, $14.8 million offer sheet Miles signed last summer with Oklahoma City.
"It was fun to be able to just focus on basketball -- just that -- and not have to have that in the back of your mind," Miles said, "and be able to just go and work basically and know, 'OK, this is what I have to do and this is where I'm going to be next year.'"
With Matt Harpring out indefinitely, Miles could see increased playing time as a result. He said he thought Harpring's absence created an opportunity not only for him, but Ronnie Brewer , Kyle Korver and Kirilenko as well.
"Hopefully, I'm able to grab some of those minutes, of course, but I don't want to change the mindset of what I want to do," Miles said. "As far as playing, I don't want to force anything."
Korver (inflamed left knee), Kirilenko (strained left quadriceps) and Miles (strained left hip flexor) all missed the Jazz's evening practice Sunday, the team said. Korver underwent an MRI exam, the results of which were still pending.
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