Jefferson to the Jazz?

If you want a lesson on how NBA trade exceptions are used, take a look at what the Utah Jazz are reportedly doing to acquire Al Jefferson.

The Utah Jazz have quickly moved into the lead to acquire Al Jefferson and were actively working Monday night to complete a deal with Minnesota, according to NBA front-office sources.

Sources told ESPN.com that the Jazz and Timberwolves are on the verge of completing a trade that would slot Jefferson’s contract into the $14 million trade exception that Utah created earlier this week in its sign-and-trade deal with Chicago for Carlos Boozer.

But because its trade exception is large enough to absorb Jefferson’s $13 million salary next season, Utah can complete a trade for Jefferson without sending back any players to the Wolves. Sources with knowledge of Minnesota’s thinking said Monday that the Wolves’ main aim in shopping Jefferson in recent weeks has been securing multiple future first-round picks and taking back as little salary if possible.

Via his Twitter account Monday night, Utah CEO Greg Miller wrote: “I just approved a Jazz roster move that I’m very excited about. Planning to share details tomorrow.

Playing in the NBA’s version of purgatory, Jefferson posted 21-and-11 in 2007-08 and 23-and-11 in 2008-09 before suffering a knee injury that required surgery. He finished with 17-and-9 playing alongside Kevin Love in his post-injury 2009-10.

He’s just 25 and one of the league’s true back-to-the-basket big men. Assuming his knees are okay, he will serve as a nice replacement for Carlos Boozer.

There’s an old adage — when one door closes, another opens. Congrats to the Jazz if they can swing this trade. The Mavericks were also very interested in Jefferson.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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