Mo Williams promises doughnuts from newest Jazz “rookie” Travis Leslie

Mo Williams doesn’t eat doughnuts, which probably explains why, at 6-foot-1, he only weighs 186 pounds and, oh by the way, is a professional athlete.

Still, the Utah Jazz’s veteran point guard feels it’s his duty to send newcomer Travis Leslie on a few errands, so he told reporters Monday he’d have the rookie fetch them some doughnuts in the future.

“I don’t eat doughnuts but I’ll make him bring ‘em anyway,” Williams said after Utah’s shootaround at EnergySolutions Arena.

The response from the assembled local media was, to say the least, predictable.

“We do (eat doughnuts),” a couple of reporters playfully interrupted.

“Oh, there you go,” Williams said. “Just tell me where you guys want the box set. At the practice facility, we’ll have ‘em out there for you guys.”

Williams was simply having a little fun, which, considering the Jazz’s current four-game losing streak, was probably welcome relief.

Technically, Leslie, whom the Jazz signed to a 10-day contract, isn’t a rookie. He was the Los Angeles Clippers’ second-round pick in 2011 and appeared in 10 games for them before being assigned to the team’s D-League affiliate in Bakersfield, Calif.

During his time in L.A. last season, Leslie, 22, got to know Williams and current Jazzman Randy Foye, who also played for the Clippers.

Williams said Monday Leslie was “my rook last year.” He also noted that considering he only played 10 games for the Clippers, Leslie is still a rook in his book.

Being a rookie means having a few extra responsibilities added on, namely wearing a silly-looking backpack on road trips and getting doughnuts for veteran teammates.

“He’s a hard worker, he even trained with me in the summertime before his rookie year,” Williams said of Leslie, who’ll wear No. 23 for the Jazz. “I know the hard work he puts in.”

Leslie put in some hard work Monday morning, going through a tough workout with Jazz assistant coach Brad Jones.

“Got a good sweat in,” Leslie said.

Chances are, that’s the only sweating he’ll do today. The Jazz (32-31) will play host to the Detroit Pistons (23-42) tonight and unless the score gets completely out of hand one way or the other, Leslie, the 15th guy on the roster, won’t see much playing time.

The Jazz signed the former University of Georgia standout on Sunday, shortly after they released veteran Raja Bell, who was on Utah’s roster but was never with the team.

Bell, 36, was in the final year of a three-year contract. He was owed $3.4 million this season.

He initially signed with the Jazz as a free agent in the summer of 2010 but developed some communication issues with current Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin after Corbin took over as head coach following Jerry Sloan’s resignation in February 2011.

Hours after the 2011-12 season ended, Bell said called Corbin “unprofessional” and said he didn’t expect to be back in a Jazz uniform for the 2012-13 campaign. He remained on the roster until his release Sunday, but never did join the team at any point during the season.

Utah center Al Jefferson said Monday he wasn’t aware Bell had been released and indicated Bell’s feud with the team was of little interest to anyone in the Jazz locker room.

“I’m pretty sure they’re happy to have that over with,” he said. “(Bell) is happy, too, probably. I just really didn’t get involved in that because it’s really not my business. I don’t think it effected us at all.”

Williams concurred.

“Trust me, it hasn’t been a conversation,” he said. “I mean, not one time throughout the season. It hasn’t been a conversation.”

That’s probably because Bell never stopped by with a box of doughnuts.

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About Jim Burton

Jim Burton has worked for the Standard-Examiner since 1991. He has covered everything from the preps to Utah, BYU, Weber State and the Ogden Raptors. Currently he is the Standard's Utah Jazz beatwriter and its sports columnist.
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