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Interview: Jazz's O'Connor on Jefferson, media, Corbin, Kirilenko, rookies — part two

Published March 30, 2011 2:00 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Part two of a transcript of a media interview with Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor conducted Wednesday at the team practice facility.

Problem between Al Jefferson and Tyrone Corbin: No. I don't see anything. Look, are there always going to be dustups and have issues and everything we'll try and keep as internal as possible? But I really don't. I'm around it enough to say. Look, do you get upset with each other at times? Do you get upset with your boss? [Laughs] You won't answer that, do you? [Laughs] Ask me your question again? You see any problems we're having? No comment. [Laughs]. Jefferson recently not talking with media after games, and whether O'Connor has a problem with that: I do. And that'll be addressed. Here's what I've got a problem with: We're professionals. We've got to do the right thing, whether we win or lose. And if that's the situation and that's occurred, I can understand being upset and giving a one-word answer and everything. But that's not who we are. That's not what we'll continue to do. He'll address the press afterwards, as far as that goes. … Look, you've got a job to do, we've got a job to do, players have got a job to do. We'll make sure that all our jobs are done and done professionally.

Corbin being in a tough spot: Sure. Organization letting Corbin do the best he can during a rough season, then really watch him next year: I think everybody has to go through — everybody's going to be questioned. Again, if those two shots don't go in, we'd be sitting here talking; maybe wouldn't be talking about it as much. But I think what you've got to understand is that, he's going to be questioned because he's a young coach. And the second reason that he's going to be questioned is because, he's following a coach who was here for 23 years and was successful. So, all of those things he knew going into it. That's why we felt he was the right person for the job. That's why we felt that everybody outside the organization needed to understand that's why we gave him a contract. Because, going forward, we feel that he's the right guy for the job and going on from there. One of the funny things is, if coach Sloan had done it and played the young kids, [you] would have said, 'God, that's great. Jerry stuck with those young kids and did that, and wherever happened he was in there with them.' But now you're questioning it, because it's somebody else [as] a coach. And that's — you should be doing that, and that's your job and that's your responsibility. But let me say this: Our responsibility is to support our coach, which we do.

Andrei Kirilenko returning to the team next season: You'd like to think it. He's got an opportunity to test the free agent market, and there's nothing we can do about it. He's filled his contract. We've fulfilled our side of it. We would like him back, sure, absolutely; that's a conversation we'll have. He'll look at it. Because he's got other options, because he's a foreign player. … He likes it here. That's what he's told us. The only thing I can go — Andrei said he'd like to be back, he said he likes it here. That's the only thing; I take a man at his word. And that's what I'm taking from him.

Scouting change after Deron Williams trade: None. To be honest with you, it's funny. We said at the beginning of the year that we've got to treat this draft, let's treat it like any other draft. What we do is, you try and have a microcosm — if you don't have a microcosm, you kind of go macro, and you see all the players. And if you remember, whether it's Maui or it's Kansas plays somebody on a TV game early in the season — made for TV games, I call them, cross conferences — we go to see all of those. We go to see all the games and we treat it like it's an expansion draft, and we've got to know every player in the draft. That's how we treat it. And in today's day and age, depending on who comes out and who doesn't out, we also have to say, 'Everybody's a player.' … What we try and do is evaluate what level that they're at, and can they play in the league. And if they can, then we've got to evaluate them. Rookies playing vs. Washington: Look, our head coach makes those decisions. And before Jerry, Frank made them. During that time when the Millers owned the court, the coach makes the decisions. But I would also say, I think, coming from 12 down to going two ahead in the game, they earned the right to be on the court. There's never any second guessing with what the coach does. We support everything that he does as far as that goes. He's the one that's on the front lines and he's the one that's with them everyday. We're happy to support in that respect, if that answers the question that you're asking. Did they both throw the ball away in overtime on the first two possessions? Absolutely. But we wouldn't have been in that position if they hadn't have played like crazy to get us to that position.— Brian T. SmithTwitter: @tribjazz