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Ainge's Celtics partner with Orem's Utah Flash

PHOENIX — Original plans called for the NBA Development League's Utah Flash to have a working relationship with the Jazz and no other NBA team.

When Boston Celtics general manager and former BYU star Danny Ainge called, however, Flash owner Brandt Andersen could not resist changing his mind.

"We toyed with the idea of just telling the NBA we wanted just to be affiliated with the Jazz," Andersen said when he and others from the D-League club visited the Jazz at their recent training camp in Boise. "But Danny Ainge really wanted to be affiliated with us, because of his connections to Utah County."

The result is that Orem-based Flash will serve as farm team for both, though it's clear by the makeup of the coaching staff and front office — head coach Brad Jones and general manager Dave Fredman both have longstanding ties to the Jazz organization, and Jones is the nephew-by-marriage of Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan — that their system will emulate that run by the Jazz.

Still, the Flash are making efforts to solidify their relationship with the Celtics — including a visit this week to the Boston area for members of the Flash staff.

All first and second-year Jazz players — Ronnie Brewer, Paul Millsap, Morris Almond and Kyrylo Fesenko — are technically eligible for assignments to the D-League.

Fesenko is the likeliest to go at some point, though his spirited performances in Utah's first three preseason games prior to tonight's at Phoenix — he's scored 17 points, pulled down eight rebounds and blocked six shots in a total of 42 off-the-bench minutes — might prompt Jazz brass to keep him away from Orem for longer stretches than initially anticipated.

Even if the Flash don't land Fesenko, they could wind up at times with one or both of two Celtics rookies, former LSU star Glen "Big Baby" Davis and ex-USC guard Gabe Pruitt — both, like Fesenko, second-round selections in last June's NBA Draft.

Either way, the Flash — who already expect to have former Jazz training camper and Washington Wizards big man James Lang, an Expansion Draft selection, on their roster — would be thrilled to have an active NBA player for their first season in the league.

"It would be huge for us," said Andersen, whose club will select 10th in the opening round of the Nov. 1 D-League Draft. "We want to see these guys."

ALUMNI UPDATE: Former Jazz forward and current Jazz television studio host Thurl Bailey was in Dallas late last week to take part in the D-League's mentoring program, which ultimately will match him with a Flash player who club coaches feel has the best potential to make the jump to the NBA.

Other former NBA players will do the same for various D-League teams, including A.C. Green, Tracy Murray, Norm Nixon and Walter Davis.

Bailey, incidentally, also is scheduled to sing the national anthem for the Flash's Nov. 27 home opener.

MISC.: Jazz power forward Carlos Boozer worked out Sunday in Phoenix, but a spokesman said the team's leading scorer from last season "most likely" will not play against the Suns tonight. Boozer missed all of training camp in Boise and the Jazz's preseason opener against Milwaukee last Wednesday while he was in Miami tending to his young son Carmani, who is battling sickle cell anemia. He rejoined the team Friday in Detroit but didn't play that night against the Pistons or in Saturday's win at Milwaukee ... Veteran forward Matt Harpring (post-surgery knee, ankle rehab) is out for tonight, but shooting guard C.J. Miles, who missed Saturday's game, is expected to be available after attending the funeral of his maternal grandmother in Texas ... Free-agent center Kevin Lyde has not played in the Jazz's last two exhibitions (coach's decision), and free-agent forward Donnell Harvey (intestinal flu) has missed all three.