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Utah Jazz: Boozer not ruling out European offers

Published: Saturday, Aug. 9 2008 12:14 a.m. MDT

BEIJING — With big-bucks, multi-year deals recently drawing NBA players like Josh Childress and Carlos Arroyo to play international ball overseas, could Carlos Boozer be drawn away by foreign interests?

Boozer, who is eligible to opt out of the final season of his six-year, $68-million contract next offseason, said he would be open to all offers — including with a foreign team.

"As a business decision, we definitely would have to look at it," said Boozer, in Beijing as a second-time Olympian. "But it doesn't mean that you're on the next flight out."

He said he would "absolutely" consider the possibility, "if my wife was down with it and the money was right."

BOGUT UPBEAT: Andrew Bogut won't commit to saying that his Olympic team is Australia's best-ever national team. But he will say he's in the best form of his brief Games career.

The former University of Utah star center played for Australia in the 2004 Athens Olympics, and remembers the experience for the wrong reason.

"In Athens, I was 19 years old, an immature snot and grumpy," he recalled. "My head was spinning around. I wasn't a great guy to be around. So it's exciting to be back now."

And Australia's Sunday opener in preliminary play comes against Croatia, his parents' home country.

"I'm proud of my bloodlines, as you know," Bogut said. "But I am first and foremost an Australian."

Bogut, who signed a new long-term contract with the Milwaukee Bucks earlier this summer, is nursing a tender ankle, which kept him out of the USA-Australia exhibition Tuesday night in Shanghai and made his participating in Friday's opening ceremonies questionable.

"It would not be the smartest thing for me to be walking around right now," he said earlier Friday. "I'm still 50-50 and will decide later."

DERON'S NERVES: Deron Williams isn't above admitting the likelihood of getting a little jittery as the United States men's basketball team takes the court for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

In fact, he's gotten a little input from 2004 Athens holdovers LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Jazz teammate Carlos Boozer about feeling any nerves going into the Games.

"I talked to the Athens guys, and they all had butterflies when their names were called," Williams said.

"Carmelo told me how nervous he was before the bronze-medal game in Athens," he said, "so I hope to be just as nervous here — but in the gold-medal game."

DECORUM: Decorum is a big deal in international exchanges, but don't expect the U.S. men's basketball team to play in any preconceived or contrived manner on the court.

Not to anticipate any bad behavior from boorish Americans.

It's just that nothing has been preplanned or pre-choreographed, whether it be chest bumps with teammates or specific interactions with international opponents.

"We don't think about that on the court — we're here to compete, we're here to have fun," said Boozer, one of two Utah Jazz players on the U.S. team. "We're very spontaneous."

Added Boozer: "We're going to do what the moment deserves. If we're cheering, it's because we're excited. And if we're acting cool, we'll, it's because we are cool."

COACH MILLAR: Ryan Millar, middle blocker on the U.S. men's volleyball team, says playing the game is one thing, and trying to coach others is another.

Millar, a former national player of the year at BYU, returned to his alma mater several years ago as an interim co-head coach, squeezing the coaching duties in the middle of a successful pro volleyball career overseas and his extended duties with the U.S. national program.

"You know, it's really funny when you see the players playing it in the right way you taught them — you can learn a lot from them," he said. "But sometimes I feel it is hard (coaching and playing) — it's just like being a director of a film and acting on it as well."


E-mail: taylor@desnews.com

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