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Utah may chase Mav

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The Jazz are among a trio of teams eyeing Mavericks restricted free agent Marquis Daniels, a Dallas newspaper reported Sunday.

Daniels, a versatile shooting guard, was undrafted out of Auburn in 2003. But the 23-year-old played well beyond expectations in his rookie NBA season with Dallas, even starting and averaging 15.8 points in five playoff games.

"Atlanta, Charlotte and Utah are believed to have interest in Daniels," the Dallas Morning News reported.

The Dallas paper also reported "the Mavericks believe that at least two teams are considering offering . . . Daniels more than the $5 million (mid-level) salary exception, which could make keeping him difficult."

Because the Mavs are over the NBA's team payroll salary cap, they would not be able to match any offer that exceeded mid-level pay in the first season of a multi-year deal.

The Jazz, well under the cap, are in position to propose such a deal when the league's free-agency negotiating period opens July 1.

If they so choose, that is.

Asked Sunday if the Jazz would be willing to pay more than mid-level money for someone who has played only one year in the league, basketball operations senior vice president Kevin O'Connor declined comment.

PURSUING PODKOLZINE: The Dallas Morning News also reported Sunday that "there is a chance the Mavs could move up into the first round of Thursday's NBA Draft," and that "reports around the league are that they have taken a liking to 7-5 Pavel Podkolzine."

The Jazz may also have interest in using one of their three first-round picks on Podkolzine.

Today, the Jazz will work out two more prospects: Mississippi high school star Al Jefferson and University of Missouri power forward Arthur Johnson.

GUARDING GIRICEK: New Nets owner Bruce Ratner reportedly is in cost-cutting mode, meaning it's unlikely New Jersey would make any sort of crazy offer to Jazz restricted free agent Gordan Giricek.

That's got to be good news to the Jazz, who hope to re-sign the shooting guard.

New Jersey and Portland both have reported interest in Giricek, whom the Jazz acquired in a February trade with Orlando for DeShawn Stevenson.

In another money-saving move, the Nets apparently are planning to send their No. 23 overall first-round pick in Thursday's draft to Portland. The Trail Blazers reportedly would give New Jersey $3 million, and perhaps a non-guaranteed contract like one belonging to either Omar Cook or Weber State product Eddie Gill.

E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com