Ronnie Price wants his old job back with Utah Jazz
Jazz point guard Devin Harris had already run through a light workout, every minor move captured by the zooming lenses of television cameras.
Paul Millsap looked stronger and sounded more confident than ever, serving immediate notice that this could be the year the former reserve tweener becomes an All-Star.
C.J. Miles said he was 15 pounds lighter, declaring on the first day of informal, voluntary workouts that he wants to be either Utah's starting shooting guard or small forward when the 2011-12 NBA season finally begins.
But the day and the moment soon belonged to former Jazzman Ronnie Price.
The six-year veteran did not work out due to illness. His 6-foot-2, 187-pound frame barely drew notice from the media, and he was content to receive friendly smiles from Millsap and Miles. But the NBA has entered an eight-day period of uncertainty, and no one at Utah's practice facility better represented the limbo than Price.
From 2007-11, Price played 232 games for the Jazz, averaging 3.8 points and 1.5 assists while often spending more time on the bench than the court.
Price, 28, will almost certainly never be an All-Star. He doesn't have the freedom to tell the media he wants to be an NBA starter. But at his best he's a quick jolt of lightning. Well-liked by his longtime friends and former teammates, a quiet-but-strong leader in the locker room, and a proven commodity on the hardwood, he understands the Jazz's offensive and defensive systems as well as anyone currently on Utah's roster.
Price wants to be added to that roster. And with general managers talking to agents and the NBA slowly taking form as players work their way into game shape, the former Utah Valley standout would answer yes in a heartbeat if Jazz GM Kevin O'Connor used one of the team's two open backup point guard spots on him.
"This is family. â¦ I'm a loyal guy, and I don't have any intentions of going anywhere else," Price said. "If the Jazz feel the same about me, then I'm here. If not if they have other plans then I have to put my thoughts inside and move on. But as far as I feel personally the team that we have, the coaches that we have, just the organization all around this is where I want to be."
During a day when New Orleans All-Star guard Chris Paul reportedly requested to trade the small-market Big Easy for the big-time Big Apple, Price was on the opposite end of the universe.
Cynics could view Price's desire to re-sign with the Jazz as a last-minute plea. He has limitations as a player and would be a third-string backup on most NBA teams. But with the league stuck in chaos mode thanks to an unexpected end to the lockout and an accelerated free agency/training-camp period, Price could be more valuable to the Jazz than usual.
He trained throughout the offseason with Millsap and Miles, and he's finally healthy after fighting off frustrating foot and leg injuries last season that forced him to miss 22 of Utah's final 28 games.
Now, Price wants his old job back. He'll work out at the Jazz's practice facility until a call comes through, at times just one closed door or an opened set of blinds away from O'Connor's sight.
Maybe an offer will come, maybe it won't.
Price is prepared, either way.
"I'm doing everything as if I'm still here until I'm told otherwise. â¦ These guys are my teammates," he said. "And I'm excited about the moves and everything they've done this offseason with the draft picks. And I'm excited to see [coach Tyrone Corbin] with a full year under his belt."
Briefly • The Jazz announced Thursday they will hold a free scrimmage Dec. 17 at EnergySolutions Arena (7 p.m. MT). Utah will then start exhibition play Dec. 19 at Portland (8 p.m. MT) and end a two-game preseason run Dec. 21 against the Blazers at ESA (7 p.m. MT).
Former Jazz guard Ronnie Price, an unrestricted free agent, said Thursday he hopes to re-sign with Utah. Price will work out at the practice facility during the interim.
Jazz players Devin Harris, Paul Millsap and C.J. Miles participated Thursday in voluntary, informal workouts at the team practice facility. Jeremy Evans is expected to arrive by the weekend, while Mehmet Okur, Al Jefferson and Raja Bell, among others, should show up before training camp starts Dec. 9.