Utah was one of the better stories in the league last year. Two years after winning only 26 games, the Jazz won 51 and had the best record in the Northwest Division. But there is now trouble in Jazzland with star forward Andrei Kirilenko, apparently upset with the way he was used last year by Utah coach Jerry Sloan, demanding a trade. There was one rumor that he might be shipped to Phoenix for Shawn Marion, but the Suns denied that they were interested. Regardless, it is good news for the Mavericks. Even though they finished 16 games better than the Jazz last season, Utah is an up and coming team that could continue to grow and become more of a threat to Dallas. But with one of its best players -- who still has $63 million left on his contract -- unhappy, the Jazz has a distraction that is obviously not conducive to playing top-level basketball.
-- Jan Hubbard