For at least a couple of guys, this may be the last day in a Utah Jazz uniform.
On Friday night the Jazz downed the Portland Trail Blazers, 87-78. The Jazz have one more Rocky Mountain Revue game, tonight against Chicago at 8 p.m. in the Delta Center. After the game, team brass will announce who gets invited to veterans' camp in October.The way things look now, there are two available spots, sought for by five players - center Jim Havrilla, forward Bob McCann, and guards Askia Jones, Byron Starks and Justus Thigpen.
McCann is a three-year NBA veteran, which gives him an edge, and Jones got some good reviews from coach Jerry Sloan during rookie camp, though he hasn't been impressive during the Revue, shooting just 32 percent from the field.
The other three guys are looking like real longshots. Starks played just five minutes Friday, and his most memorable plays have been a couple of come-from-nowhere, above-the-rim blocked shots.
Thigpen is a point guard behind two Johns with contracts - Stockton and Crotty. And the Jazz have even used draftee Jamie Watson at point some here. Thigpen's shooting - 38 percent - and assist-to-turnover ratio - 10 of each - probably won't earn him a spot. Havrilla has shot poorly - 29 percent - but rebounded well - he leads the team in rebounds per 48 minutes - but he was probably doomed from the start. With the team trying to develop Luther Wright, Havrilla has played the fewest minutes.
"He (Wright) has been here a year, he's got a feel for the system," Havrilla said. "You could say he had the jump on me from the get-go."
Wright, meanwhile, continues to have moments where he looks like he might be on the verge of becoming a player, other moments where he looks completely lost. He had just six points and four rebounds in 36 minutes against Portland, but he made a couple of nice passes.
Bryon Russell led the Jazz with 24 points, hitting eight of 14 shots and grabbing 10 rebounds. Walter Bond scored 18 on six of nine, including two of three three-pointers. John Crotty, who started the day as the league's leading scorer, had early foul problems and finished with just seven points.
For Portland, James Robinson scored 18 and Tracy Murray 17. Jaren Jackson, who was in Jazz camp last year, hit just one of 10 shots, and former Jazzman Dan O'Sullivan scored two points and snagged six boards in 17 minutes.
Other games scheduled for today include Seattle vs. Portland, 2 p.m. Sacramento vs. Houston, 2 p.m.; and Phoenix vs. Denver, 6 p.m.
In other games:
Houston 83, Chicago 74
The Rockets outscored the Bulls 26-11 in the third quarter to improve their record to 5-2. Forward Tim Breaux led the Rockets with 24 points, followed by Larry Robinson with 20 and Ashraf Amaya with 15. The Bulls (4-3) were led by Dickey Simpkins with 15 and Jeff Sanders with 13.
Seattle 116, Sacramento 99
Chris King hit 12 of 15 shots and scored 32 points as the Sonics put the Kings away. Marcus Liberty contributed 18 for Seattle, Gerald Paddio 15. Del Demps led the Kings with 21 points, while Michael Smith scored 18. Bobby Hurley did not play.
Charlotte 99, Phoenix 95
Oliver Miller, reportedly headed back to Phoenix after a tiff with coach Scotty Robertson on Thursday night, stuck around to score 24 points, grab 12 rebounds and hand out eight assists, but it wasn't enough to beat Charlotte. The Hornets, who got 20 points and nine boards from Nate Higgs and 15 points from Edmond Wilson, led by 16 after three quarters and held off a late Suns rally. Elliot Perry had 18 points and seven assists for the Suns.