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Bell, Jazz brass meet to clear air after clash

Posted Mar 12 2012 3:45PM - Updated Mar 12 2012 9:31PM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Guard Raja Bell will be back in the starting lineup Monday night just two days after he was sent home from a road trip after clashing with coach Tyrone Corbin.

Also, center Al Jefferson decided he wants to play Monday despite losing his 82-year-old grandmother 24 hours earlier.

"I'm going to do my job," said a subdued Jefferson, who was excused from the shootaround earlier in the day but will start against the Detroit Pistons. "It's what she would want me to do."

Gladys Jefferson essentially raised Jefferson in Mississippi and continued to watch every one of his games on television. Jefferson is expected to attend her funeral Friday and miss weekend games against Golden State and the Los Angeles Lakers.

As for Monday, Corbin wasn't sure how Jefferson would handle his emotions on the court.

"You think it's the right thing until you get in the game and it's good or bad. We'll see," Corbin said. "Hopefully it's the best thing and he'll play and perform like he wants to perform in her honor. But emotions are funny. You never know how and when it's goign to hit you."

As for Bell's situation, Corbin said he was moving forward after a closed-door sit-down meeting with the 12th-year guard in the morning.

"We handled it, and moved forward," said Corbin, who started Bell Friday in Philadelphia but sent him home Saturday after they clashed. Bell did not play that day in the loss at Chicago.

Bell, 35, acknowledged he was frustrated but said Monday's conversation went well and he feels good about trying to help the Jazz get back in playoff contention.

"We had a good conversation, talked over a few things and you keep it moving," he said. "I'll be here. In whatever capacity I can help, I will."

Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor also said the issue was resolved.

"That chapter is closed. We're moving on," O'Connor said. "Raja is a competitor, Coach is a competitor and we're going to figure out a way to try to get to fifth or sixth place in (the conference)."

Bell has started all 30 games he's played in for the Jazz this season and is averaging 6.9 points. He shot 1 of 5 against the Sixers and played just 18 minutes.

Bell said he wanted to remain with the Jazz. He is under contract through 2013 and set to make $3.4 million next season.

"I bought into coming here and I'm doing my best to help this team win, so that's what I've tried to do all year, and until that's not my job anymore, that's what I'll do," he said. "I told them in here I like Salt Lake, my family likes Salt Lake, and I really enjoy my teammates. So from my perspective, I'm fine."

O'Connor declined comment when asked if he has had calls about trading Bell or if Bell had asked to be traded.

O'Connor did acknowledge the team was active in general trade discussions, as are other teams.

Utah is woefully in need of better outside shooting. While the Jazz have plenty of flexibility under the cap, and a nice mix of veterans and youth, O'Connor made it clear the team wasn't looking to add somebody in the final year of his contract.

The trade deadline is Thursday afternoon.

The Jazz (19-21) enter Monday's game tied for 11th in the Western Conference, but they are just a few wins out of the playoff race. None of Utah's next four opponents have winning records, and players called this an important week.

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