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Jazz hoping to hit higher notes

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Jazz hoping to hit higher notes

After getting swept out of the playoffs by San Antonio in the first round, the Utah Jazz made some off-season moves that might give them a shot to go a little farther in the playoffs this coming season. The Jazz are certainly no threat to make a run at the Larry O'Brien trophy anytime soon, but they do have a solid nucleus of young players that can grow together and maybe some day turn into a contender.

The marquee move for the Jazz this summer was shipping out guard Devin Harris to Atlanta in return for forward Marvin Williams, who will slide in right away and start for Utah at small forward. Williams, the former 2 overall pick in 2005, never lived up to his billing and has had a so-so career thus far. Williams averaged 10 points and 5 rebounds a game for Atlanta last season.

Utah also acquired guard MoWilliamsfrom the L.A. Clippers in a four-team trade. Williams can play point guard and has a sweet stroke as he averaged 13 points a game with L.A., helping the Clippers get to the second round of the playoffs last spring. Williams has one year left on his current contract so this could be an audition of sorts for him.

In fact, eight players on the Jazz roster enter the final year of their contracts,includingthe team's best player, center Al Jefferson, who averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds a game. Forward Paul Millsap is another key player in the last season of his deal. Millsap averaged16 points and 8 rebounds for the Jazz.

Forward Enes Kanter is back for his second season and the Jazz still have high hopes for the 3 pick from the 2011 draft. Kanter had an underwhelming rookie season,averagingjust 4pointsand 4 rebounds in 13 minutes a game.

Utah added more shooting to the roster by inking free-agent guard Randy Foye to a one-year, 2.5 million deal. Utah already has young shooters in Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward but Foye adds some depth coming off the bench.

The Jazz signed Slam Dunk champ Jeremy Evans to a three-year deal worth 5.5 million and he will likely back up Williams at forward. The 6'-9" Evansaveragedonly 2 points and 2 rebounds in his second year with the Jazz but the team hopes that he can blossom.

The Jazz didn't have a first round pick in the NBA draft but they did have the 47th overall and with it took another shooter in Kevin Murphy out of Tennessee Tech.

Utah went 36-30 last season and earned the eighth and final playoff spot in the western conference in coach Tyrone Corbin's first full year. Expect the Jazz, with the new additions of veteran guards and the return of a solid front court, to certainly be fighting again for a playoff spot.

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Wizards set to have Tim Frazier back against Cavs after nasal fracture surgery

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Wizards set to have Tim Frazier back against Cavs after nasal fracture surgery

The All-Star break came at a good time for Wizards point guard Tim Frazier, who missed their last game before the week off due to nasal fracture surgery.

Frazier was back at the Wizards' practice on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena and expects to play on Thursday when the team returns to action on the road at the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"I feel good. I feel like I can go out there and help them compete," he said.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Frazier, 27, had surgery to repair his broken nose on Feb. 11 after he was knocked out of the previous night's game between the Wizards and Bulls. Frazier collided face-first with the knee of Bobby Portis and was immediately ushered to the locker room with blood streaming from his nose.

Following the procedure, Frazier had to battle through pain and breathing issues. He feels much better now and had no complications after participating in a full practice.

The challenge now is adjusting to a fitted mask he will have to wear to return to the court. Frazier has never had to wear a mask before in his basketball career.

"[Sweat] was one of the issues today, trying to keep it dry when I'm sweating underneath," he said.

"He looked good," head coach Scott Brooks said. "I thought he would be a little uncomfortable with it, but he seemed fine."

RELATED: WIZARDS HAVE BIG QUESTIONS TO ANSWER IN SECOND HALF

Frazier has been given advice from the Wizards' training staff, as well as teammate Bradley Beal who has had to wear a mask twice before in his career.

"Brad said that after a while you get used to it. Nobody wants to wear it for the rest of their careers besides Rip Hamilton," Frazier said.

Getting Frazier back is significant for the Wizards, who are already down a point guard with John Wall rehabbing from left knee surgery. Without Frazier against the Knicks on Wednesday, the Wizards had to use Beal and Otto Porter to bring the ball up at times. Now, with Tomas Satoransky and Frazier, they have a starting point guard and a backup who is used to playing the position.

They could have three point guards, as the Wizards continue to weigh their options in free agency. They have to add a player within the next two days to meet the league's minimum roster requirement. Most of the free agents they have evaluated have been point guards as they aim to compensate for Wall's absence, which could last well into the month of March.

RELATED: 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT HAS LOADED CLASS

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wizards have big questions to answer coming out of All-Star break

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wizards have big questions to answer coming out of All-Star break

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller look ahead to the biggest questions the Wizards need to answer after the All-Star break. They also explain why Bradley Beal proved a lot in his first All-Star Game appearance.

They also unveiled a new segment involving guessing Wizards players based on their social media captions.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!