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News » Utah Jazz Getting Inside 2009-10-02

Utah Jazz Getting Inside 2009-10-02

Utah Jazz Getting Inside 2009-10-02However unlikely it seemed when he professed his interest in playing for Chicago and Miami this summer, Carlos Boozer returned to Utah on Sept. 25 for the start of his sixth season with the Jazz.

Boozer made no apologies, though, for his summer comments, saying he was merely answering questions from radio interviews and adding that he felt no need to clarify his comments in the two months before he talked to Utah reporters.

The former All-Star forward also insisted that he had been told by Jazz management that he was no longer part of the team's future plans. That message, Boozer suggested, was conveyed when the team declined to offer him a contract extension.

The Jazz, meanwhile, will try to make the best of what promises to be a lame-duck season for Boozer, who will be a free agent next summer and re-signed Paul Millsap this summer as their power forward of the future.

The challenge for Boozer will be repairing relations with his teammates, while the Jazz coaches must find a way to maximize Millsap's minutes even if he must come off the bench behind Boozer.

Millsap averaged 16.0 points and 10.3 rebounds in 38 games as a starter last season and finished fourth in voting for the NBA's Most Improved Player award.

For the Jazz's first preseason game, coach Jerry Sloan opted to start Boozer and bring Millsap off the bench. That was no surprise with Boozer having started every game for which he's been healthy the past three seasons in Utah.

But Sloan also considered starting Millsap at small forward, a possibility he might explore the rest of the preseason. Sloan ultimately decided not to do so, with two players nursing minor injuries that he didn't want to bring off the bench.

Millsap has tried to expand his game, whether it's his shooting or ball-handling, in the hopes of seeing additional time at small forward.

"There's a lot of 3s (small forwards) out there who don't want to guard me, really, because I'm a 4 (power forward) and I bang and they don't really like that," Millsap said. "Hopefully, we can try to use that to our advantage."

Millsap also would have to guard small forwards like Boston's Paul Pierce and Denver's Carmelo Anthony, but sounded unfazed. "That means nothing to me," Millsap said. "I feel like I can guard anybody. That's not a problem."

The Jazz have several small forward options in addition to Millsap. C.J. Miles started last season while Andrei Kirilenko came off the bench but played the equivalent of starter's minutes. Sloan could revisit that decision and start Kirilenko this season.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 2, 2009


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