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Utah Jazz: Bulls ponder life with Boozer

Utah's Carlos Boozer warms up at O2 Arena before practice Monday as the Jazz face the Bulls today.
Utah's Carlos Boozer warms up at O2 Arena before practice Monday as the Jazz face the Bulls today.
Carl De Souza,Afp/Getty Images

LONDON — If Derrick Rose had his druthers, two-time NBA All-Star power forward Carlos Boozer would be playing tonight in London for the Chicago Bulls — not the Jazz, the team that's employed and handsomely paid him each of the past five years.

But — much to Rose's admitted surprise — a rumored and oft-discussed trade that would have sent Boozer to the Bulls in July never did materialize.

Too bad for Chicago, Rose suggested after the Bulls practiced Monday and before the Jazz did the same in advance of today's NBA exhibition game at London's O2 Arena here.

"It would have been great," said Rose, the NBA's Rookie of the Year last season and point guard of one of the league's premier up-and-coming clubs. "Boozer, he's a great guy, a great veteran. He would have helped the team out a lot. So, if he would have come on to this team we would have liked him as a player.

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

For Boozer, the notion of a move to Chicago — or Miami, or any of the many other locales that the on-the-block forward was rumored to be headed to this past offseason — is yesterday's dream.

He suggested, too, that it's becoming today's nightmare.

"That's the summertime. Stuff happens like that in the summer," Boozer said from the O2 floor that Rose stood on just moments earlier.

"Everybody's moved forward; everybody's on the same team that they were on . . . And for me I'm happy to be a part of my team and am looking forward to getting going.

"At the time, there was a chance I might have gotten moved," he added, reiterating much of what was said when the Jazz opened training camp in Utah late last month. "But ... that's over, done with. I didn't get moved, nobody got traded, and I'm happy to be here."

Boozer refused to be drawn in Monday to the temptation of imagining what it would be like had the trade been made.

"Until you get moved, you're still on your team. So, I didn't get moved. I'm here with my team," he said. "This is my team — the Utah Jazz. And I look forward to getting going.

"I'm sure there's going to be a lot of questions (this season) on this stuff, about what would have happened. But nothing happened," added Boozer, who is in the final season of a six-year, $68 million contract with the Jazz.

"What woulda, shoulda, coulda — that's for you guys (reporters) to speculate about, and whatever. But nothing that I can see went down.

"So, with that being said, the Chicago Bulls have their team. I'm here with my team, the Utah Jazz."

Chicago general manager Gar Forman, for his part, refused to be drawn into revealing just what was discussed between the Bulls and Jazz — and why no trade, including possible ones that might have landed Chicago forward Tyrus Thomas in Utah, was ever made.

"People ask about different trade scenarios, and my response was we talk to all 30 teams about a lot of different possibilities," he said Monday in London.

"But we like the team that we have," Forman added. "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."

Forman also steered away from offering his thoughts on Boozer's blatant public lobbying to be dealt to the Bulls, including a much-publicized appearance on an ESPN radio station in Chicago in which he talked about how much he'd love to play with Rose.

"I didn't really have any thoughts on that one way or another," the Bulls GM said.

And just what does Jazz coach Jerry Sloan think about it all?

He continues to steadfastly stand behind Boozer, who has missed about a third of his career in Utah due to injuries.

"I think he's been terrific," Sloan said when asked Monday about Boozer's attitude since camp and preseason play got under way.

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

NBA preseason

Bulls vs. Jazz

Today, 12:30 p.m., London's O2 Arena