Boozer ready to move forward with the Jazz

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SALT LAKE CITY -- It's been a long and tumultuous offseason for the Utah Jazz. Most of the drama centered on whether Carlos Boozer would be back with the team.

Well, Boozer was at Jazz Media Day Thursday and in his familiar No. 5 jersey. As you can imagine, he was the big story.

Being back in a Jazz uniform could not have been what Carlos Boozer pictured during the offseason.

"I am surprised. I didn't know I was going to be here throughout the course of the summer, but I'm excited to be here. I'm looking forward to playing with my team," Boozer said Thursday.


According to Boozer, Jazz management told him he was no longer in the team's future plans. That led to Boozer publicly talk about possible trades to Miami and Chicago.

"Let me address that right now," Boozer said. "I got asked the question. I was doing an interview for my basketball camp in Alaska. I got asked the question: ‘If I got traded here, got traded there, would you want to go?' If I get traded, I don't have a choice but to go. So I said, ‘If I get traded, yeah, I'll go.'"

For now, Boozer will go for the Jazz, but how for much longer is the question. Since the Jazz have not offered Boozer an extension, he'll be an unrestricted free agent after this year if he's not traded before.

"Nonetheless, I'm here. I'm back in Utah. I'm excited to be here, ready to move forward, get on the court with my teammates and see how good we can be this year," Boozer said.

And his teammates seem excited to have Boozer back.

"I like playing with Booz. I'm glad he's here. I don't have any problems with everything that's gone on, you know. So, I'm good," Kyle Korver said.

Andre Kirilenko said, "I don't know what's gonna happen, but again, he's with us. He's gonna practice with us. So, you know, we treat him as a teammate."

"It's a business. You have to go out there and play regardless of what you're hearing," Deron Williams said. "If you get traded, you get traded and have to deal with it. But until something happens, you can't worry about who is going to be here and who is not. We have to go with what we got."

The fact Boozer is playing for a new contract should be a win-win for both he and the Jazz. But whatever happens this season, Boozer said he just wants to move past the summer.

"It's over now. I'm here now. So, regardless of that being said, let's move forward and let's go play basketball," Boozer said.

Camp officially begins Saturday when the team starts practice. Next Thursday the Jazz host Denver in the preseason opener, then the team is off to play two games: one in Spain, and one in London.


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Kathy Aiken


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