It’s safe to say, Trey Lyles will not pursue a position with the Utah Office of Tourism when he retires from the NBA.
The former Jazz forward took some shots at his old stomping grounds and first professional team during a podcast interview with another ex-Utah player, Richard Jefferson.
Several minutes into his latest Road Trippin’ Podcast — and after teasing Lyles, his Denver teammate, about things like hockey, not rebounding enough, scuffling with Channing Frye, decommitting from Indiana and “growing up on the mean streets” of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan — Jefferson turned the conversation toward the Beehive State.
“So,” Jefferson said, “you got drafted by Utah? Then you …”
“Unfortunately,” said Lyles, interrupting him.
“Let’s talk about why you didn’t want to go to Utah,” Jefferson said after the 12th pick of the 2015 draft mentioned that he would’ve preferred to be drafted by Denver.
“I don’t know,” Lyles said. “I just didn’t like it.”
At this point, Denver’s Mason Plumlee — also on this podcast, which was taped in Jefferson’s hotel room in Memphis — asked Jefferson what he felt about playing in Utah. The small forward played for the Jazz in the 2013-14 season and had a drastically different experience than his young power forward teammate. In a humorous tone, he also didn’t let Lyles off the hook.
Jefferson: “I liked playing in Utah. I really did.”
Lyles: “Who was your coach then?”
Jefferson: “I had Tyrone Corbin.”
Lyles, grumbling: “So y’all didn’t practice? Y’all didn’t do nothing, yeah. See, we had practice every day (under Quin Snyder). I thought I was in Kentucky again.”
Jefferson, sarcastically: “You had practice every day? Oh, sorry for making you work hard. Sorry. What’s wrong with working hard, Trey?”
Lyles: “I didn’t say nothing about working hard. Three-hour practices? C’mon now.”
Jefferson then mentioned that the Jazz nearly made it to the playoffs in Lyles’ rookie year — the Jazz only won 25 games the season in which R.J. played for Utah — and teased him for giving up 60 points to Kobe Bryant in the 2016 season finale. (Though he didn't play much, Utah made a playoff run in Lyles' sophomore season.)
It shouldn't come as a surprise that Lyles has bitter feelings about his time in Utah. Moments after Gordon Hayward's decision about bolting for Boston became public, Lyles tweeted out a GIF mocking the Jazz. The young player had just been traded to Denver in the Donovan Mitchell deal.
This conversation eventually turned into a tangent about the five worst cities in the NBA. Lyles, who grew up in Indianapolis after moving from Canada as a 7-year-old, rattled off four cities: Detroit, Memphis, Milwaukee and Sacramento (“It’s horrible,” he said).
“We talk about the worst cities,” Plumlee said. “I don’t think Utah is a great city to go and play in, but the guys that play there seem to love it.”
Lyles had a counterpoint to that comment.
“Usually the guys that love it are older,” said the 22-year-old, selected 12th overall in 2015 by the Jazz. “They have families.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed it,” said Jefferson, who was 33 with the Jazz. “I didn’t have a family at the time, but I thoroughly loved it.”
Plumlee admitted he does enjoy the Italian restaurant Valter’s Osteria in Salt Lake City, but Lyles refused to say anything nice about Utah.
“It’s very similar to Denver,” Jefferson said.
“It’s not similar to Denver,” Lyles rebutted.
“If you’d shut up and let me talk,” Jefferson countered, jokingly.
“You don’t have to say (bleep) and be all rude,” Lyles responded.
“It’s sunny all the time in Utah,” Jefferson said.
“The fans are really, really good.”
Jefferson then spoke highly of Park City and noted that ski resorts were close to the city, explaining why he believes Denver and SLC are similar.
After telling his teammates that his favorite NBA stop is New York City, Lyles rounded out his list of the five worst cities in the league. The fifth addition happened to be one that three of his current teammates — Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Devin Harris — used to call home.
“Utah should be there,” Lyles said of the worst-city list, perhaps forgetting that Utah is a state.
“You really hated Utah,” Jefferson said. “You hated your time there.”
Jefferson then returned to teasing Lyles about Sechawan — or was it Sesseshawan? — by purposely botching the pronunciation of the native Canadian’s childhood home.
Millsap later joined the Nuggets players — his answer about Utah would've differed from Lyles as well — but Jefferson corrected his use of a particular word to describe the conversation between himself and Lyles.
“Riveting is not the right word,” Jefferson joked. “It’s more like slow death with a dull spoon.”
Incidentally, that might be how Lyles would describe his two years in Utah.