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University of Utah basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak sat two rows behind the Jazz on Thursday for Utah’s 97-91 win over Portland, which could lead one to think he had a chance to wave or exchange pleasantries with Mo Williams.
But Williams, who played point guard for Krystkowiak when both were with the Milwaukee Bucks, never saw him.
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"He was focused on the huddles and stuff and giving everybody fives," Krystkowiak said. "So I didn’t get the chance."
Thursday was full of reunions for Krystkowiak. He had lunch with Terry Stotts, the first-year coach of the Portland Trail Blazers who Krystkowiak replaced as Milwaukee’s head coach midway through the 2007 season; he waved to Derrick Favors, who played in New Jersey when Krystkowiak was an assistant coach there; he saw his former teammate Tyrone Corbin and Jazz assistant Michael Sanders, who was on Krystkowiak’s staff in Milwaukee.
Williams was complimentary of Krystkowiak, saying, "That’s my guy."
Krystkowiak was fired by the Bucks at the end of the 2008 season, and later that summer Williams was traded to Cleveland.
"He was in a tough situation in Milwaukee, first time being a head coach obviously in the NBA," Williams said. "But at the same time he’s a great disciplinarian, he’s tough and he just don’t take no bull. That’s one thing I liked about him a lot. He was a tough player, and that’s the way he coached. He demanded a lot of his players."
Krystkowiak said, "I love Mo" and that he expects the well-traveled point guard to provide an outside scoring punch the Jazz have lacked in past years.
He saw it with the Bucks, even though Krystkowiak won only 31 of the 100 games he coached there.
"Together in Milwaukee, we were in kind of some dog days and it wasn’t going as we had planned," Krystkowiak said. "It was a lot of frustration, not a lot of positive memories. I always respected [Williams], and we communicated real well. He’s obviously bounced around a little bit, but it should be great here."
More for four
The Jazz on Friday exercised team options for 2013-14 on their four core young players: Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Alec Burks and Enes Kanter. For Favors and Hayward, it’s their fourth-year option, and they will become restricted free agents at the end of 2014, assuming the Jazz do not sign them to extensions before then.
Kanter and Burks will be going into their third seasons. The Jazz also hold team options on them for 2014-15.
"These young guys, they’ve worked extremely hard," Corbin said. "They’ve shown improvement, and they’ll continue to do that. They deserve to be rewarded with the extra year on their contract."
Favors’ contract calls for him to make $6 million in his fourth season, while Hayward will earn $3.4 million. As third-year players, Kanter will be paid $4.5 million and Burks will make $2.2 million.
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