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Report: Utah Jazz Take Lead In Al Jefferson Sweepstakes

The race to acquire forward Al Jefferson may be moving closer to a finish. ESPNDallas.com has reported that the Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks exchanged proposals throughout the weekend and moved closer to the possibility of a trade.

The Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves continue to exchange proposals on an Al Jefferson trade and moved closer to a deal over the weekend, according to sources with knowledge of the talks.

But the sides still don’t have a done deal, sources said, despite the fact that Dallas has somewhat eased its stance on the inclusion of Erick Dampier’s lucrative non-guaranteed contract in a trade for Jefferson.

While the Mavericks have softened their stance on Erick Dampier, they have not eased up on their demand of both DeShawn Stevenson and Matt Carroll being included in a deal to help lessen the load of Jefferson and his remaining 3-year, $42 million contract.

Now, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Utah Jazz have jumped into the picture and have apparently taken the lead after losing forward Carlos Boozer in free agency.

Just filed to ESPN.com: Sources say UTA has quickly moved into lead in race to acquire Al Jefferson from MIN and working now to seal deal

The key in a deal with Utah is the lack of big contracts coming back to Minnesota. In losing Boozer via a sign-and-trade, the Jazz acquired a trade exception that could keep them from sending unwanted contracts out in a potential deal as Dallas is currently looking to do.

Trade exception created by Boozer sign-and-trade can let UTA absorb Jefferson contract w/out sending out salary and seal deal w/draft picks

A timetable for a completed deal is unknown, but Al Jefferson’s days in Minnesota certainly appear to be numbered.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.