Boozer not thinking about fan reception
If he is at all concerned about the reception that awaits him at EnergySolutions Arena, Carlos Boozer wasn't letting on Tuesday, just two days before the Jazz will host Denver in their preseason opener.
"I haven't thought about it at all, to be honest," Boozer said. "I'm looking forward to playing, looking forward to proving a lot to everybody, to myself, and getting back to being an All-Star player."
Back for a sixth season in Utah, Boozer will be making his first appearance Thursday before Jazz fans since conducting a series of offseason interviews in which he pushed for a trade, even naming Chicago and Miami as preferred destinations.
With the Jazz having opted to bring him back, Boozer was asked if he thought fans eventually would be supportive.
"Honestly, I don't know," he said. "I hope they support me. I hope the fans support me. I love our fans. I hope they know that I'm happy to be here, love being here. I'm going to bust my tail for them and give them everything I've got and prove everything on the court."
Since he returned to town last week, Boozer has ventured out in the community. He said he had been to dinner and the movies, though most of his time has been spent with his family unpacking boxes, hanging clothes and settling into their home.
"I just go play," Boozer said. "I'm not worried about anything. Honestly, I have no concerns, no fears, no inhibitions, anything. I'm going to enjoy my life."
Boozer learned at media day that the Jazz had been selling his jerseys for 50 percent off this summer at their Fanzz team stores. The Jazz also did not include Boozer in their "Be the X factor" marketing campaign for the season.
Jazz coach Jerry Sloan faces a decision about starting Boozer or Paul Millsap in the opener. Sloan's description of Millsap on Monday as a player who "steps on the floor and he's energized right off the bat" suggested Millsap could be coming off the bench.
Sloan said Tuesday that no decision had been made. He was asked whether Millsap was better equipped to play as a reserve than Boozer.
"I don't know who's better equipped," Sloan said. "I think they both can make a contribution. If they come and play hard, we won't have any trouble getting them in the game."
Andrei Kirilenko (strained left quadriceps), Kyle Korver (inflamed left knee) and C.J. Miles (strained left hip flexor) each missed practice for the third consecutive day, though the team said all three were improving.
Kirilenko took part in shooting drills with special assistant Jeff Hornacek before practice. He described his quadriceps as still being "pretty tight," but said the goal Tuesday was to "kind of make it work a little bit, but not too much."
The Jazz only have gone through four days of practice, but rookie point guard Eric Maynor has come away convinced that he'll be able to contribute this season. Maynor and Ronnie Price are battling for minutes behind Deron Williams .
"I think I'm going to be able to play right away," Maynor said. "That's just the feeling I have. But you never know the way the coaches feel. I'm going to just keep working, keep working every day, and I'm going to try to force them to make that decision so I can play."
Both Williams and Boozer praised Maynor, with Williams saying he was impressed at how deceptive Maynor was despite not being the fastest or most athletic point guard.
"I think he's real poised for a rookie," Williams said. "He does a good job of distributing the basketball, a good job of getting into the lane and finding open people, and doesn't turn it over that much."
The Jazz announced a new partnership Tuesday making SmithTix their exclusive ticketing provider. SmithTix is the largest locally owned ticket distributor in Utah and also will handle ticketing for EnergySolutions Arena, Miller Motorsports Park and the Salt Lake Bees
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