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BEL Utah Jazz Homepage


The Jazz won the Western conference title but lost to the Pistons in the BEL championship games. In a bad mood, Head Coach Yu-Chi Wang declined to make any comment except vowing to come back again next year.

The Jazz signed 6'6" SG Ben McNichols for a short-term contract to fill the vacancy left by the departure of Leland. McNichols is expected to be cut at the end of the season if he does not show outstanding performance.

Jazz backup small forward Mike Leland was traded to the Heat for the T'wolves 1st rounder three years later. Leland was drafted by the Jazz in the first round two years ago and stayed with the franchise since then. As a matter of fact, Laland and center Mike Guillory lead in seniority in the Jazz team for staying with it for more than two years. Jazz GM Yu-Chi Wang said, "we really hate to lose (Mike) Leland. He has made great contributions to the franchise. Fans love him a lot, too. But we figure Leland can have a better career with the Heat. On the other hand, for us the trade is just like a gamble. We lose a good player now and hope to get a great player back in three years. We'll see."

The Jazz signed backup small forward Robert Minilichik for a 30-day contract. It is believed that Minilichik will only play a temporary role to fill the vacancy and the team play will not rely on him at all.

The Jazz traded its back-up power forward Tony Cannizzaro to the Bucks for 0.4 million cash. Cannizzaro was picked up from the free agent market to fill the spot left by the departure of point guard Daniel Beauchamp, who was traded to the Raptors for the Magic 1st rounder next season. It was reported that Cannizzaro complained to the coaches about lack of playing time on several occasions, and General Manager Yu-Chi Wang finally decided to release him for almost nothing. Jazz is deep in forwards so it is believed that the trade will not affect the team performace in any way.

Inside sources indicated that the Jazz has reached a trade agreement with the Knicks about star power forward Jason Ireland. However, the terms of the agreement have not been disclosed at this moment. It is believed that, during the negotiations, the Jazz intended to keep Ireland on its roster until the end of the playoffs, and the Knicks agreed. Ireland averages more than 20 points and 6 rebounds a game and is a vocal team leader. The departure of Ireland will create a major challenge for GM Yu-Chi Wang for sure.

web page first establsihed 12/28/97
BEL Year 15
Copyright 1997 Yu-Chi Wang