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Utah Jazz: DeMarre Carroll has been a man of the people while in Utah

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Carroll wants to return to the Jazz. He won’t discuss the possibility of a hometown discount, but Bartelstein calls him "loyal like a dog," a description that fits Carroll’s nickname.

"The Junkyard Dog don’t want to go anywhere because the dog pound is here," he quipped April 18, a day after the Jazz’s season ended without a trip to the playoffs.

At a glance

Utah Jazz free agents

Al Jefferson, center

Age » 28

Last season » 17.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, named Western Conference Player of the Week final week of March

2012-13 salary » $15 million

Likelihood he returns to Utah » 40 percent

Paul Millsap, power forward

Age » 28

Last season » Averaged 14.6 points and 7.1 rebounds

2012-13 salary » $7.2 million

Likelihood he returns to Utah » 10 percent

Mo Williams, point guard

Age » 30

Last season » Posted 12.9 points and 6.2 assists per game, missed 32 games due to right thumb surgery

2012-13 salary » $8.5 million

Likelihood he returns to Utah » 20 percent

Randy Foye, combo guard

Age » 29

Last season » Averaged 10.8 points, set team record in 3-pointers made and attempted

2012-13 salary » $2.5 million

Likelihood he returns to Utah » 80 percent

Jamaal Tinsley, point guard

Age » 35

Last season » Averaged 3.5 points and 4.4 assists in 18 minutes per game; went 20-12 as a starter

2012-13 salary » $1.3 million

Likelihood he returns to Utah » 70 percent

Earl Watson, point guard

Age » 34

Last season » Missed first 12 games due to offseason knee surgery, averaged 2 points and 4 assists

2012-13 salary » $2 million

Likelihood he returns to Utah » 10 percent

DeMarre Carroll, small forward

Age » 26

Last season » Averaged 6 points in 17 minutes per game, started 12 games

2012-13 salary » $885,000

Likelihood he returns to Utah » 80 percent

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General manager Dennis Lindsey said Carroll’s efforts to connect with fans have been "very well-received by the organization" but declined to discuss the prospects of a return to the Jazz.

‘One thing great’ » Carroll bides his time playing virtual dominoes with teammate Marvin Williams, who is spending the summer in North Carolina. Williams asks Carroll regularly if he is coming back to the Jazz, a question that Carroll is getting more and more used to answering. "I don’t know," he says.

Over dinner at a Moab brewery, Carroll examines his chicken sandwich. He asks a server for mustard.

"This free agency gonna be very interesting," he says.

He has spent time studying film of former San Antonio forward Bruce Bowen, an All-NBA defender eight times over and a three-time NBA champion. Watson describes Carroll as a highly intelligent player who could fill the same role for a championship contender as Matt Barnes does for the Los Angeles Clippers.

"He’s not a guy that goes out there and tries to score 10 to 15 points a game," Watson says. "He’s a guy who’s going out there trying to change the game."

Carroll says that his struggle, and the thing that separates him from the best players in the NBA, is that no one aspect of his game is exceptional. He is a moderate shooter, a better-than-average defender and not an especially strong rebounder. "Hard work is a talent," he told the group of kids in Monticello. What goes unsaid is that it’s a talent that teams usually won’t pay big bucks for unless it is accompanied by other, more marketable skills.

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"It’s all about guys who do one thing great," he says. "Like Al Jefferson, he scores the ball. He’s gonna get you 20."

Carroll’s career high is 19 points.

"My thing," he says, "is all opportunity."

The Jazz will rebuild. They will let many players walk away in free agency, one step back to establish a core of Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and top draft choice Trey Burke. Hayward, Carroll believes, is one year away from being an All-Star.

Carroll does this, he predicts the future. Hayward’s, Jefferson’s, Millsap’s, but not his own.

All he knows about that is what he wants, which is to be appreciated and to be rewarded — to be given opportunity and for that opportunity to be backed up with the confidence of a multiyear contract. A permanent home for him, his jersey available in the team store.


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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