Report: Mo Williams won’t re-sign with Jazz unless he remains a starter

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Mo Williams is an unrestricted free agent this summer, and he apparently won’t re-sign with the Jazz as a backup point guard — he wants to be the starter.

That’s the word out of Williams’ camp, anyway, and if true, he may want to start engaging in some contract negotiations with other teams.

From Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports:

Mo Williams will re-sign as a free agent with the Utah Jazz only if he remains the starting point guard next season, a source told Yahoo! Sports on Friday.

The demand comes a day after the Jazz traded up in the draft to get University of Michigan star Trey Burke, who was selected ninth on Thursday night.

“He’s not going to come back as a backup,” the source said of Williams.

As for Burke, he told reporters Thursday, “My goal is to come in and start right away. I look forward to coming in and helping the team win.”

Williams, a 10-year NBA veteran and one-time All-Star, is a serviceable option at his position, and averaged 12.9 points and 6.2 assists in 30.8 minutes per game last season. But his durability has been lacking in recent years.

After playing 81 games for the Cavaliers in 2009, Williams has appeared in just 69, 58, 52, and 46 games respectively in each of the following seasons.

The Jazz want an upgrade at the position, as well as someone who can stay healthy while giving them that increased level of production. Drafting Burke was a step in that direction, and though he may not be ready to start immediately, he could get that chance if Williams doesn’t return and the Jazz don’t fill that hole by adding another veteran to the roster.

The agent for Williams later refuted the Yahoo! report, but only truly took exception to the word “demand.” As Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune said in the piece, the dispute may be semantic.