Excerpts from Jazz General Manager Kevin O'Connor's interview Friday with the media.
O'Connor on Josh Howard: … He's got to knock some of the rust off. He's got to get himself in NBA shape.
Watching Howard work out: … What I feel comfortable with is the PT part of it. I watched him work out the knee and all indications are from a layman's point of view his knee's stable and strong. … We went out on the court and watched him shoot the ball and run up and down a little bit. Again, I don't want to put him through a workout like he might go through because I didn't think it was fair since we hadn't signed him yet. Conditioning-wise he's going to have a ways to go.
Howard assuring Jazz troubles are behind him: I don't think you can ever assure yourself of that. What you try and do is do as much intelligence work as you can. What he's done since then is as important as what he's learned. And over the last couple of years he's been terrific. He set up a mentoring program in D.C. and he was very good in the locker room with his teammates up there. … It's been two and a half or three years since he's had any kind of issues with that kind of stuff.
Adding Howard, Jamaal Tinsley a couple years ago: I honestly think that we would've even a couple years ago, and I think we would've anytime. The thing that I would say to you is, I'm not sure that we would've brought him in six months after issues. How do they respond, how do they react from it, how do they grow into it? Both of those guys have been model citizens since. Sometimes you learn from stuff. It's not how you fail, it's how you succeed after you fail.
Playing Dec. 27: … He was teasing me. He said, 'You still running autos?' I said, 'Yeah, we're gonna run some of that version of it.' He said, 'God, that was tough to defend.' So he understands and knows our system a little bit.
What sold him on Jazz: I would hope that when we sat down and spoke to each other we tried to be honest with him about what it was and what it wasn't. I said, 'You write down the names that we've got and you see if there's an opportunity. You understand what we're going to do. We're not into giving a season and playing young kids. We're into winning and that's why I'm here sitting with you.'
Closer to the luxury tax: Now it can become trades, it can be sign-and-trades, it can be a lot of different things. It never stops at this time of the year. … We've been talking to a lot of people at a lot of different times during the summer.
Keeping more than 13 players: I don't know. I don't think we're going to cut somebody if we think they can really play in the league.
Vote of confidence for Devin Harris: Yeah. We talked to Devin and there's only a few people that will be blamed if we don't succeed and he's one of them. I'm one of them. We're in the same boat.
Brian T. Smith
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