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News » Boozer backs off courtship of Bulls

Boozer backs off courtship of Bulls

Boozer backs off courtship of Bulls London ? As the Jazz and Chicago Bulls crossed paths between practice sessions Monday at The O2 arena, Carlos Boozer slapped hands with Kirk Hinrich and Vinny Del Negro before sharing a few words with fellow Duke product Luol Deng.

If only for a moment, as one team was coming off the court and one team was about to take the floor, Boozer's alternate reality was unmistakable.

Had he gotten his wish this summer, Boozer still would be in London, but as a member of the Bulls preparing to face the Jazz . To make matters especially awkward, the teams are even staying at the same hotel along West India Quay this week.

Only two weeks after returning to Utah, Boozer has tried to move on from his July 14 interview with the Bulls' flagship radio station in which he welcomed the prospect of a trade, lauded Derrick Rose and even talked about helping recruit Dwyane Wade to Chicago.

"That's over, though," Boozer said. "That's summertime. Stuff happens like that in the summer. Everybody's moved forward. Everybody's on the same team they were on except for guys that did get moved this summer.

"For me, I'm happy to be part of my team and looking forward to getting going."

This summer's memories, however, are not easily forgotten. As part of a series of interviews, Boozer asserted that he and the Jazz had mutually agreed to a trade and even named Chicago and Miami as preferred destinations.

Not only did he call the Bulls a "great organization," Boozer praised Rose as "maybe the most athletic guard I've seen at the point guard position." For his part, Rose said he was "very surprised" that Boozer wasn't traded to Chicago.

"It would have been great," Rose said. "Boozer, he's a great guy, a great veteran. He would have helped the team out a lot. So if he would have came on to this team, we would have liked him as a player."

Added Rose: "We need a big, he's a big. He can pop and shoot, he's a strong post player, too, so he's versatile, and that's what we need on this team."

How much interest the Bulls had in Boozer remains in question. Chicago general manager Gar Forman said he "read something about [Boozer's interview] a couple days afterwards, but I didn't really have any thoughts about it one way or the other."

Forman added that while he had trade talks with every team in the league, he was inclined to bring back the same team that gave Boston everything it could handle in losing a seven-game first-round playoff series.

"We like the team that we have," Forman said, "and really this summer we had a lot of opportunities to change our roster if we wanted to and we wanted to let this roster continue to grow together."

Had he been traded, Boozer would have called Del Negro his coach and Deng his teammate. Hinrich, meanwhile, could have been headed elsewhere, with his name included in a reported three-team trade proposal between the Bulls, Jazz and Portland.

"I knew it was a possibility," Hinrich said. "It's tough to control as a player, so you just realize whatever happens, you're going to make the best of the situation and move on."

The Bulls still could sign Boozer as a free agent this summer. However long he is with the Jazz this season, though, Boozer's return has been well received at least initially.

"It's been great so far," Deron Williams said. "He's playing hard, working on his defense and we haven't had any distractions, I don't think."

Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said Boozer has been "terrific," with the two on the same page following a Sept. 25 meeting in which Boozer pledged to do whatever was asked of him this season.

"I've never felt like I had a problem with him all along, even when he missed some games before," Sloan said. "I felt like when the guy's healthy, when he's on the floor, he's tried to do everything he can that we've asked him to do."

Boozer, who had seven points and seven rebounds in the Jazz's first preseason game, insisted that he has spent little time this week thinking about what could have been with the Bulls, even if the reminders are around every hotel corner.

"I'm sure there's going to be a lot of questions and all that good stuff about what would have happened," Boozer said. "But nothing happened. What would've/should've/could've, that's for you guys to speculate about and whatever. But nothing actually went down.

"That being said, the Chicago Bulls have their team. I'm here with my team, the Utah Jazz , and we're looking forward to playing against each other."


? A Boozer-Bulls refresher

Highlights of Carlos Boozer's July 14 interview with ESPN 1000 in Chicago:

? Asserted that he and the Jazz "mutually agreed" to a trade and says he expects to be traded "relatively soon or in good time."

? Welcomed the opportunity to play for Chicago, calling the Bulls a "great organization" and "top notch from top to bottom."

? Praised Derrick Rose as "maybe the most athletic guard I've seen at the point guard position" and says he loves Rose's demeanor.

? Talked about recruiting Dwyane Wade to the Bulls in 2010, saying Wade would "be the first call I would make." The Jazz's European itinerary

The Jazz are on their first-ever trip to Europe this week as part of the NBA's fourth-annual Europe Live Tour.

Sunday ? Arrived in London, Practice at O2 Arena

Chelsea vs. Liverpool game for Andrei Kirilenko and Co.

Monday ? Practice at O2 Arena

Today ? Jazz vs. Chicago, 12:30 p.m. MDT, NBA TV

Wednesday ? Practice at Palacio de Deportes, Madrid, Spain

Thursday ? Jazz vs. Real Madrid 12:45 p.m. MDT, NBA TV

Depart Madrid for Salt Lake City after game. Jazz vs. Bulls

In London, today, 12:30 p.m. MDT, NBA TV

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: October 7, 2009


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