Jazz Get No. 3 Pick from Blazers

Jazz Get No. 3 Pick from Blazers

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Utah Jazz acquired the No. 3 pick in the NBA draft, sending the Portland Trail Blazers their No. 6 and No. 27 choices Tuesday.

The teams announced the trade hours before the draft was to begin. The Jazz also gave Portland a provisional first-round pick in the 2006 draft.

Utah is trying to strengthen itself at point guard after struggling at the position while winning just 26 games last season. The Jazz brought in Illinois guard Deron Williams for a workout last week. Wake Forest's Chris Paul was another possible pick for the Jazz, although he did not work out for the team.

"We are ecstatic that we were able to make this move," said Jazz president Dennis Haslam, who would not say whom the team intended to pick.

Blazers president Steve Patterson said Portland was not necessarily finished talking to other teams about deals.

"Our mission was to make optimum use of the third pick overall," he said. "We were able to move down only three spots and gain two additional first-round picks. This trade will allow us to continue doing what we started last year, stockpiling young talent."

Utah said it was not trying to stockpile talent with its picks. The Jazz wanted to make sure Williams or Paul was still available. Neither was expected to still be around by No. 6.

The Jazz have only one point guard under contract and he most likely won't be for much longer. The team has been negotiating a buyout with Raul Lopez, a first-round pick four years ago who has struggled with knee injuries.

Utah didn't need at point guard from the late 1980s through the '90s, with John Stockton running the offense. Stockton retired two years ago as the NBA's career leader in assists and steals.

Carlos Arroyo and Lopez shared the job in 2003-04 and helped lead the Jazz to a 42-40 season. But Arroyo and coach Jerry Sloan clashed early last season, and the Jazz sent the guard to the Detroit Pistons.

Utah had two picks in each round entering Tuesday and did not need four rookies. Even after the trade with the Blazers, the Jazz still had three picks -- the third overall and Nos. 34 and 51. The Blazers also had the 35th overall selection.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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