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Jazz notes: Blake Ahearn hoping for second contract with Utah

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(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Blake Ahearn takes the ball down court, in NBA action, The Utah Jazz, vs. Dallas Mavericks, at the EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, April 16, 2012.

By Brian T. Smith

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Apr 18 2012 08:35PM
Updated Apr 19, 2012 10:19AM

Portland, Ore. • Blake Ahearn is hoping he gets another shot with the Jazz.

Ahearn’s initial contract with Utah expires Wednesday, and the organization will have to offer him another one if the 27-year-old point guard is going to stick around for the rest of the season.

Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor said after Utah’s win Wednesday that the Jazz would make a decision Thursday about re-signing Ahearn, who played five scoreless minutes Wednesday.

Getting closer

Jazz forward Josh Howard and guard Raja Bell traveled with Utah to Portland, and both are moving closer to possible returns.

Howard put up jump shots after shootaround Wednesday morning, and was watched by Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin and assistant Sidney Lowe.

Bell is no longer dealing with pain in his left knee and hopes to be healthy in time for the playoffs if Utah makes the postseason.

Corbin said he’s open to playing Bell if he’s ready, and the Jazz coach acknowledged getting either veterans back for late April could provide Utah with a major lift.

"The guys have been around the league for a while, they’ve both been in the playoffs before. It’ll be two more assets for us to be able to use," Corbin said.

He added: "We’ll see. They haven’t gone through any contact yet. There’s a lot of time left and they’re feeling good from the work that we’ve had ’em in so far."

Soft crime

The NBA announced Wednesday it fined Dallas guard Delonte West $25,000 for a physical taunt of Jazz forward Gordon Hayward during Utah’s 123-121 triple-overtime home victory Monday.

West intentionally stuck a finger in Hayward’s ear during the game and received a technical foul.

"He bumped me and it’s, ‘OK, he’s obviously frustrated,’ " Hayward said Tuesday. "Then when he did the second one, it’s like, ‘Man, we’ve got him right where we want him.’ … We got the last laugh with the win."

Jazz nickname stays

Jazz CEO Greg Miller weighed in Wednesday on the rights to Utah’s nickname.

Two days after NBA Commissioner David Stern told The Times-Picayune that New Orleans should back off any attempt to regain the "Jazz," Miller tweeted Utah’s name isn’t moving anywhere.

"The window of opportunity to change our name closed shortly after we moved to Utah from [New Orleans]," Miller wrote.

"We are Utah Jazz. And we always will be."

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