Los Angeles » Former Jazz first-round draft pick Morris Almond will join the NBA Development League's Springfield (Mass.) Armor today, Almond wrote in an e-mail Wednesday.
Almond set records in the D-League, scoring 53 and 51 points in games, while playing with the Utah Flash during his time with the Jazz.
He appeared in 34 games in two seasons with the Jazz, averaging 3.1 points in 8.6 minutes.
With Almond stuck behind Ronnie Brewer , Kyle Korver and C.J. Miles on the depth chart, the Jazz decided in October not to exercise the third-year option to bring back their 2007 first-round draft pick from Rice this season.
"He's got enough skills to play at this level, he's just got to work at it a little bit harder," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said, adding that Almond still had room to grow in terms of sharing the ball and defense.
"Those are some of the things that I think he had a little problem with and probably has hurt him with some of the teams he's tried to be with. I wish him well."
Almond went to training camp with Orlando and saw limited action in four preseason games but did not make the Magic's roster. The Armor (0-4) are coached by Dee Brown and affiliated with Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey.
The Jazz were rated as the NBA's 15th most valuable franchise, according to Forbes magazine's annual rankings released Wednesday, but saw a 4 percent decline in estimated value from $358 million in 2008 to $343 million this year.
The Jazz were estimated to have revenues of $118 million and an operating income of $7.9 million. According to Forbes, 12 of the NBA's 30 teams were estimated to have suffered operating losses over the past year, the highest number in the last decade.
It marked the first time since 2001 that the Jazz had seen a decline in estimated worth, then from $226 million to $225 million. The Jazz were ranked immediately behind Philadelphia and ahead of Portland by Forbes, dropping a spot from No. 14 last year.
The Lakers were ranked as the NBA's most valuable franchise, worth an estimated $607 million with operating income of $51.1 million last season.
The Jazz are planning a ceremony later in the season to retire a number or banner in honor of longtime broadcaster Chris "Hot Rod" Hundley , who will return to call Saturday's game as a fill-in member of the Lakers television crew.
"I'm worried more about eating with him the press room," said Sloan, who remembered Hundley filling in for a Bulls game while he was a Suns broadcaster.
"It was kind of interesting to see him sitting over there then. It'll be different. I look forward to seeing him. We miss him a lot."
At EnergySolutions Arena
Time » 8:30 p.m.
TV/Radio » TNT, 1320 AM, 98.7 FM
Records » Jazz XX-X, Orlando 17-4
Last meeting » Jazz lost 105-87 on Dec. 21
Line » Magic by 2
About the Jazz » The Jazz have gone 1-3 in the second game of back-to-back sets this season . . . . The Magic came to Utah last season and beat the Jazz 103-94 even with Dwight Howard out of the lineup. Rashard Lewis scored 27 points in the victory. . . . the Jazz will have to decide about matching up against Howard with the likes of Mehmet Okur, Carlos Boozer and Kyrylo Fesenko.
About the Magic » The Magic have won a franchise record eight consecutive road games and are coming off a Tuesday victory over the L.A. Clippers. Howard had a monster game of 25 points, 11 rebounds, seven blocks and five assists in the victory. . . .The defending Eastern Conference champions have a different look after signing Jason Williams and trading for Vince Carter, who is averaging 19.3 points and 4.8 assists.