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At 9:20 pm MT Wednesday night, Al Jefferson entered the rarified air of Utah and elevated life of the Utah Jazz, gliding down the escalator at Salt Lake International Airport after the cross-country flight from Boston.
In one smooth front office move Jazz VP Kevin O'Connor had turned ‘Big Al's' life around. From losing an average of 55 games in each of his first 6 NBA seasons in Boston and Minnesota, Jefferson just traded up to a Jazz team that's averaged 52 wins over the last 5 years…and while Jefferson's never played in a playoff game, with Deron Williams the Jazz have played in 44 playoff games over the past 5 seasons.
Jazz CEO Greg Miller greeted Jefferson at the bottom of the escalator, gave him a quick hug and a new Jazz hat with the return to the old look. Jefferson then handled several questions from the assembled media. Before that Miller fielded many questions about how the Jefferson deal got done, what he brings to the Jazz, a short acknowledgment Raja Bell is also coming to back to the Jazz, Miller said Jefferson was on the top of Deron's list of guys to go get; that the Jazz probably can't win a championship next season and that with projected salaries the franchise is headed past last year's payroll and into unchartered territory as far as luxury tax is concerned.