Utah Jazz notebook: Sloan plays defense for Boozer

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 4 2009 12:00 a.m. MST

DALLAS — The Jazz haven't playing much defense at all lately.

But Jerry Sloan has been, and he spent part of Tuesday night defending — and dwelling on — Carlos Boozer in particular.

"Everybody wants to take a shot at him because of the things that happened over the summer," Sloan said of Boozer, who — after spending the offseason opting into the final season of his current contract with the Jazz, then talking about wanting to play elsewhere — has struggled in Utah's first four games of the season. "I just told him (before the season) you have to come and play, and play through those things, and that's easier said than done.

"Instead of criticizing somebody else, everybody's gonna criticize him," the Jazz coach added prior to Tuesday's loss at Dallas. "That's the unfortunate part about it, because those are the questions I have to answer every day."

Sloan said he hasn't had any one-on-one talks with Boozer since the season started.

"I didn't see somebody come to me and beg me to play," he said. "I just went out there and tried to prove I could, and I think that's how you work yourself out of it. You feel better about yourself after it's over."

Boozer went into Tuesday's game shooting 31 percent (13-of-42) from the field. The two-time NBA All-Star opened just 1-for-6 against the Mavericks, and — in foul trouble late — finished 6-for-12 with 12 points.

"That's all you can do," Sloan, who brought up the Boozer matter unsolicited prior to Tuesday's game, said with reference to the power forward's second half in Dallas. "You try to come back and play. But, you know, he's not the only guy out there. We'll be answering that question all year long."

BUSINESS NEWS: By not reaching an agreement before Monday's deadline for doing so, Jazz swingman Ronnie Brewer became one of 24 draftees from the 30-member 2006 NBA Draft class to not sign a contract extension.

That's a record high, one more than the 23 from the Class of 2005 who weren't extended.

The six who did sign extensions, according to various reports: Portland teammates Brandon Roy (No. 6 overall; five years, max money,) and LaMarcus Aldridge (No. 2; five years, $65 million), Boston point guard Rajon Rondo (No. 21; five years, $55 million), Toronto's Andrea Bargnani (No. 1; five years, $50 million), Oklahoma City defensive specialist Thabo Sefolosha (No. 13; four years, $13.8 million) and Denver's Renaldo Balkman (No. 20; three years, $5 million).

The Jazz and Brewer, who was drafted 14th overall, never came close during negotiations.

Jazz big man Kosta Koufos, meanwhile, wound up as one of 28 players from the 2008 draft class to have his third-season option exercised.

The two who didn't get picked up for next season were Milwaukee's Joe Alexander (No. 8 overall) and Boston's J.R. Giddens (No. 30), who's spent time with the NBA Development League's Jazz-affiliated Utah Flash.

Ex-Jazz/Flash guard Morris Almond, now out of the NBA, was the only 2007 draftee who didn't have his third-year draft option exercised.

LOOKING AHEAD: ESPN.com's Chad Ford has Boozer listed No. 1 ahead of Atlanta's Joe Johnson on his list of unrestricted free agents for next offseason, but that doesn't include those with either early termination options or player options like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Dirk Nowitzki, Yao Ming and Paul Pierce.

Ford also now has Brewer fourth on his list of restricted free agents in next summer's shopping market, behind Memphis' Rudy Gay, Houston's Luis Scola and Chicago's Tyrus Thomas — and one spot ahead of Washington's Randy Foye.

e-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

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