Jerry Sloan Wants Carlos Boozer to Re-Sign with Jazz
Sloan wants free-agent power forward Carlos Boozer to re-sign with the Jazz.
"Sure, I'm hoping without a doubt,'' Sloan said in an interview with FanHouse at the Air Tran Orlando Pro Summer League on Monday about wanting Boozer back. "We're not as good of a team without him. And he helped us a great deal. It's hard to get good players.''
Sloan, entering his 23rd season as Jazz coach, said he generally stays out of the free-agent process during the summer. But he made his feelings known to general manager Kevin O'Connor in a staff meeting that was held after the season.
"We all sat down and talked about what we'd like to do, and we'd like to have him back,'' Sloan said of it being a consensus opinion among Jazz officials.
Sloan has alerted Boozer, a two-time All-Star, of his desire to have him back.
"He knows how I feel,'' Sloan said.
In an interview last Friday with FanHouse, O'Connor said it is policy not to discuss free agency.
Boozer ruffled some feathers with the Jazz and in the community last summer when he went on Chicago and Miami radio stations and said he hoped to be traded to one of those teams after he had picked up his $12.7 million option for 2009-10. However, Boozer told FanHouse last March his first choice was to re-sign with the Jazz.
"I'd love to have the opportunity to come back,'' Boozer said then. "I'd love to have the opportunity to stay ... The rest is up to them.''
Boozer, who could not be reached Monday, is looking around in free agency, with the Bulls and Heat remaining possibilities. But it will be hard for him to make a decision until after it's known where the top free agents, Cleveland's LeBron James, Miami's Dwyane Wade and Toronto's Chris Bosh, land.
"I think he's got to do what he's got to do,'' Sloan said of Boozer. "That's what I tell all those guys. When (they're) free agents, they've got to do what's best for them.
"He's not going to tell me what he's going to do. He's going to check everything out ... We'll see what happens.''
Utah went 53-29 last season and defeated Denver 4-2 in the first round of the playoffs before being swept by the Lakers in the second round. Boozer, an eight-year veteran, averaged 19.5 and 11.2 rebounds in his sixth season in Utah.
The Jazz has Paul Millsap ready to step in as a starter if Boozer leaves. But Sloan said there would be a trickle-down effect.
"It would be tougher, of course,'' Sloan said of if Boozer departed. "Any time you lose a good player and you replace him, it's then harder to replace the guy you replaced him with. You go to the third option, which is not as good as your second option in most cases.''
For now, it's out of Sloan's hands whether Boozer returns. But the coach has let it be known how he feels about his power forward.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter@christomasson
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