Keith Johnson, Deseret News
It was obvious Carlos Boozer was getting tired with the line of questioning he was getting peppered with by the assembled media on Friday afternoon.
Most of the queries for the Utah Jazz power forward were about his various comments during the offseason, when he indicated he thought he'd be traded and said he'd like to play in other places — namely Miami or Chicago, with teammates like Dwyane Wade or Derrick Rose.
About 10 minutes into the grilling, and with Boozer looking exasperated, he got an assist from a teammate. Kyle Korver elbowed his way into the interview and stood side-by-side with Boozer. Korver then joked that he was offended by Boozer and he was hoping to get more passes from him this season so that he could take more open 3-pointers.
It was in obvious jest and lightened the mood for the time being, as Korver, Boozer and the media members got a chuckle out of the exchange.
Korver wasn't the only Jazz player who had Boozer's back on Friday, however. The Jazz, to a man, said they were happy to have Boozer return to the fold after a controversial summer.
"It's good to see Carlos back," said Jazz center Mehmet Okur. "I like to play with him. He's such a good player and we know each other."
Perhaps Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko is the one who can most empathize with Boozer's predicament. After all, it was Kirilenko who demanded a trade from the Jazz just prior to training camp opening up two years ago.
"It's a business, the NBA," said Kirilenko. "A lot of rumors go around the league. But Carlos is a huge part of our team, and we don't want to lose him. He's definitely got our support, and we'll do everything we can to make him feel good."
Paul Millsap, who the Jazz re-signed to a four-year, $32-million contract during the offseason, plays the same position as Boozer. Millsap now makes NBA starter-type money after putting up starter-like stats during the 2008-09 season. But he plays the same position as Boozer, a two-time NBA All-Star.
Yet Millsap even says he's happy to have Boozer back — even if it means he goes back to his reserve role.
"Boozer's here, I'm here. Now we just need to go out and play basketball together," said Millsap. "That just gives us a better chance of winning. That's how I see it."
Jazz star point guard Deron Williams said the Boozer situation won't be a problem.
"It's only a distraction if you let it be a distraction," said Williams. "We should be fine. We'll get this media day out of the way, get back to work, and I don't think it will be that big of a problem."
When asked if he was offended that Boozer said that he'd like to play with Wade in Miami, Williams quipped, "I want to play with D-Wade, too. I want to play with LeBron (James)."
Perhaps Jazz swingman Ronnie Brewer best summed up the feelings of the Jazz players concerning Boozer.
"Everybody knows (Boozer) on a personal level and we have no hard feelings against him," Brewer said.
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