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Jefferson not worried about Jazz-Cav trade rumors

Published January 6, 2014 11:55 am

NBA • Utah could save about $6 million by acquiring and releasing Bynum.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Jazz's Richard Jefferson has been traded five times during his 13-year NBA career.

He's not worried about it happening again.

In recent days, Jefferson has been linked to trade talks between Utah and Cleveland that also include the Cavaliers' Andrew Bynum.

Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey has declined comment on the possible deal, which could save Utah about $6 million if Bynum is acquired and quickly waived. Cleveland might also include a second-round draft pick for taking the injury-prone center off its hands.

Before Sunday afternoon's practice, however, Jefferson just smiled when asked about the trade rumors.

"It's one of those things," he said. "You love your job and you love the environment. ... But for now, you just go out there and do what you've got to do. At this point, I'm focused on trying to play good basketball and helping the Utah Jazz win as many games as possible."

Asked if he's called his agent to check on the possibility of being traded, Jefferson said, "I don't call him. I don't start packing up my home. I don't starting reading people's twitters or instagrams. I don't do that. It makes no sense. ... It's really pointless. There's no benefit from asking your agent because that's how feelings get hurt and people get sensitive."

According to Jefferson, having one's name connected to rumored trades is simply part of the professional basketball business.

"Teams are always calling about other players," he said. "It's a constant ebb and flow. I guarantee people have called about Trey Burke. I guarantee people have called about Gordon Hayward, I guarantee people have called about Derrick Favors. [But] most of the time, this stuff never transpires."

Jefferson, 33, has started all 36 games this season. He averages 10 point and 3 rebounds, and shoots 41.8 percent from the 3-point line.

Jefferson has played well enough that losing him would hurt the Jazz. But it's also unlikely he will return to rebuilding Utah after this season, so using him to complete a financially motivated trade makes sense.

Said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin: "My message to all our guys would be that it's this time of year, man, and we can't control all the speculation. We can't control the rumors that are going to be out there. ... We are where we are until we're not here anymore."

Corbin admits players whose names are mentioned in trade rumors can be distracted.

"Guys will hear things that may or may not be true," he said. "[Media] guys speculate on what they think might happen sometimes because they want to be the first to put it out there. ... But we have to stay focused on trying to get better."

Along with the Jazz, Cleveland is also talking to the Lakers about a deal for Bynum.

L.A. has offered center Pau Gasol, although the Lakers reportedly want the Cavs to add another piece to any possible deal.

Meanwhile, Jefferson waits.

"If it does happen," he said, "I appreciate the opportunity from Utah and then you move on. If it doesn't, I'm going to keep doing my best to play good basketball for Utah."

luhm@sltrib.com

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