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After a roller coaster off-season full of change, the new-look Utah Jazz have reported for duty.
"I've never been more excited to start a training camp," says new Jazzman Al Jefferson. "Training camp is always been something that you want to skip but I'm so excited."
New additions like Big Al and Rookie Gordon Hayward are excited to join forces with Deron Williams during the 2010-11 NBA season.
"To be honest, when you first walk in and it's Deron Williams right there, you get a little bit like 'Oh my gosh, it's Deron Williams,'" says Hayward.
"D-Williams is Batman," Jefferson says. "I'm here to do whatever he want me to do to help us win."
"New" was certainly the theme as the Jazz held their annual media day before they begin training camp on Tuesday. New logo and colors, new uniforms, and new players all contribute to this team, which is enjoying a new excitement and optimism.
Deron Williams was satisfied with the moves Kevin O'Connor and the Jazz front office made during the offseason to offset the loss of Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and Wesley Matthews.
While there is optimism, it may be best to call it guarded optimism. Players and Head Coach Jerry Sloan are taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to expectations.
"I think the pieces are in place here," says Raja Bell, who returns to Utah after a previous stint with the franchise from 2003-05. "I think it's really important for us to start understanding each other."
The roster looks good on paper. Now it's up to this group to work together in training camp to develop the chemistry required to have success on the basketball court.
"The jury is still out," says Deron Williams. "We still have to get together and play. We're not going to know until we get together and play as a team and hopefully we gel quickly."
Jerry Sloan remembers the last time the Jazz had this much roster turnover back in 2003 after the departures of John Stockton and Karl Malone. He likes what he sees but he knows there will be challenges ahead.
"The most important thing we've got to try to do is to try and see if this team can stay together." Sloan says. "I think that's what always gives you a chance. If you play together and get along together I think you have a chance every day. They seem to be interested in trying to do the right thing. The talk is good but you don't win many games by talking."