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Jazz future uncertain after disappointing season

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - After failing to make the playoffs, the Utah Jazz face an uncertain future with seven unrestricted free agents.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - The Utah Jazz took the playoff race down to the final day of the season before ultimately falling short. For a team so used to making the postseason, despite winning 43 games, this season has to go down as a disappointment.

"We're a team that holds itself at a higher standard," said Paul Millsap. "So, not making the playoffs really hurts."

"This is a proud organization that is used to being successful that has a chance to play in the playoffs," said head coach Tyrone Corbin, whose team missed the playoffs for just the fifth time since 1984. "I pressure myself to make sure we do everything we can to take advantage of the opportunities we have."

The Jazz can point to a 13-28 record on the road and the failure to close out games they should have won, like in Cleveland, Chicago and Milwaukee.

"It was an up and down season," said Gordon Hayward. "I think there were a lot of games that we let fall through our fingers. Those are the ones you look back on and wish you could have back."

Many Jazz fans are unhappy with Corbin, who faced the challenge of having to play veterans while also developing the younger talent. But his status with the team appears to be secure.

"The status is Ty is our coach and has the Miller family's full support," said general manager Dennis Lindsey.

"It's disappointing to not make the playoffs," added Al Jefferson. "But half of the team was young, half was made up of veterans, and we came in and mixed well together."

Now the question is, which players will be back? Jefferson, Millsap, Mo Williams, Randy Foye, Earl Watson, Jamaal Tinsley and DeMarre Carroll will all become unrestricted free agents this summer. Marvin Williams has a player option and might not be back. So what will this team look like next year?

"I don't know," said Millsap. "I'm not psychic. We just have to wait and see what happens. Right now, I'm not going to even think about it. Everybody in this locker room is really close, so I try not to think about it."

"This is my 8th year in the league," said Marvin Williams. "Obviously you lose players to trades and free agency, but to have so many players be free agents, the team could look completely different next year. Hopefully guys really like it here and they want to stay."

"Everything is just happening so fast," added Jefferson. "I think I got a great agent, and that's why he gets paid the money he gets, to handle this for me."

Mo Williams, who missed 33 games because of a thumb injury, wants to return to Utah, but he knows the decision is not up to him.

"The ball is in their court," he said. "I think it's more on what direction they want to go. They know how I feel."

The Jazz want to build around their young core of Hayward, Derrick Favors, Alec Burks and Enes Kanter. But because they are uncommitted to so many players, the Jazz have the freedom to completely remake the look of their team.

"We have a lot of options," said Lindsey, who just completed his first season with the Jazz. "Whether it's to be bold right now if that opportunity presents itself, or to be really strategic and patient."

Whatever they decide to do, this is going to be a critical and very interesting summer.

"One thing I do know about the Jazz is they are a smart team," said Jefferson. "They've been doing this for a long time, and they're always going to make the best decision for the Jazz."
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