Hold on a second: The Thunder? Miles first learned the new name for the relocated Seattle SuperSonics the week after he signed. "I don't think it's bad," Miles said, "but it caught me off-guard when I heard the name."
The alternate reality always will be there for the 21-year-old guard, who originally came to the Jazz out of high school. Instead of playing for a Western Conference contender in the Jazz, he could be playing for a 20-win doormat in the Thunder.
By the same measure, instead of waiting to see what his role will be in Utah, Miles could be starting in Oklahoma City. Having returned to the Jazz, Miles looks at the situation the only way he can: "Either way it goes, I won't play unless I work."
As much as things stayed the same, they also might have changed for Miles. With Matt Harpring recovering from an ankle infection, Miles could have the chance to assume some of the 18 minutes a game Harpring played last season.
"If I'm not playing well, they're not just going to give me the minutes just because he's out," Miles said. "My goal is to be able to try to take those minutes where I can, and hopefully I can stay in the rotation when Matt comes back."
The Jazz knew that Harpring was battling the infection when they made the decision to match Miles' offer, general manager Kevin O'Connor said, but they did not expect Harpring to still be recovering at this stage.
Unlike last season, when he started training camp behind after not signing a qualifying offer to return until media day, Miles is ahead of the curve. He returned to Utah in September with the security of his new deal and said he is in the best shape of his career.
"Everything was just so out of whack," Miles said. "Not being around everybody, not being with the coaches. Everything was just so different this year. I was there a month before camp started. I was able to get back in the groove of things a little better."
Miles spent last season bouncing from the starting lineup as an injury replacement for Ronnie Brewer and Andrei Kirilenko to the bench. He said he hoped to prove himself as more than just a situational player with his athleticism and shooting.
"We were happy to get C.J. back," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "We spent [three] years with the guy, and hopefully he'll continue to try to improve, get some playing time and move his career up."
Miles said he thought, based on his exit meeting after last season, that the Jazz would match the offer sheet. He did admit there was a moment of shock when he first signed: "For the game that I love to play, to be able to get paid that much for it, I don't have any problems."
By bringing back Miles, the Jazz continue to have three shooting guards - - Miles, Brewer and Morris Almond, their 2007 first-round draft pick - - all 23 or younger.
"If we could have pared it down, and it would have made sense to improve our team, we would have," O'Connor said. "But we didn't get a chance to."
The Jazz exercised the fourth-year option in Brewer's contract before training camp, but are waiting to do so with Almond's third-year option. Almond, who played in only nine games as a rookie, is due to earn $1.156 million in 2009-10, not even a 7 percent raise.
"Ronnie was a starter last year, so it's a no-brainer," said Almond, who set NBA Development League scoring records last season. "They wanted to make sure I had a good summer. I had a decent summer league, but the preseason is big for me."
Even if the Jazz exercise the option, Almond's role remains unclear. Asked about it Friday, Almond said: "All I can do is just run the floor and play hard. You know, play loose and let it fly."
NOTES: The Jazz wrapped up training camp at Boise State with Sloan saying this was "probably as good a shape as I've had a team come in." . . . Brevin Knight practiced after sitting out Thursday with a strained back . . . .New chief executive officer Greg Miller attended practice Thursday night and Friday . . . .The Jazz will hold a public scrimmage at 3:45 p.m. today at EnergySolutions Arena.