Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan was recently asked if he has considered starting Paul Millsap over Carlos Boozer.
“Yeah, I think about it every day,” Sloan said. “We need guys, and maybe Boozer will get himself together a little bit more coming off the bench. That’s something we’re thinking about.”
When Boozer was asked about his thoughts on the issue, he stated simply, “I’m a starter. Period.”
To make matters worse, Boozer said this about not playing in the fourth quarter: “It’s the worst thing in the world, especially when you’re a dude like me.”
Sloan is a no-nonsense type of coach who refuses to deal with his players’ egos.
We have all known for quite some time that Boozer cares more about himself than his team. This was evident when, in the midst of an extended absence due to an injury, Boozer said that he would definitely opt out of his contract because he was "going to get a pay raise no matter what.”
Maybe I should make this "strike one" and his previous responses Nos. 2 and 3.
I am sure it's hard for a former All-Star to be asked to come off the bench, but it’s not like it hasn’t been done before.
In fact, Boozer's teammate Andrei Kirilenko accepted a role coming off the bench at the beginning of the year and has, for the most part, had a very successful season.
I, for one, believe that a player needs to earn his starting role, not have it handed to him because of prior accomplishments, and I know that Sloan feels the same way. Besides, it’s not like Boozer is playing good basketball right now.
Is it too much to ask that you come off the bench while you get fully healthy and are being outplayed by your backup?
According to Boozer, way too much, apparently.
This all brings me to my point. With many players' contracts expiring this summer (plus many player options coming up), there has been a lot of speculation as to what the Jazz will do.
Will they sign Boozer to a huge contract and most likely lose at least one of Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer, and Mehmet Okur? Or will they sign Millsap to a contract worth a lot less than Boozer will demand and let him take over the reins at power forward?
What if Sloan publicly talking about the possibility of benching Boozer is part of an effort to make Boozer unhappy, prompting him to either opt out or demand a trade, which will make the Jazz’s offseason decisions a bit easier?
Now, I am not at all saying that this is the case, but I think it could be a possibility.
It is very likely that Sloan is simply trying to motivate Boozer and get him to realize that if he wants to play, he is going to have to at least try to play a little defense.
I mean, I sometimes think that my grandma could drop 20 points on Boozer.
I know this for sure: It is very unlikely that Sloan will continue to put up with Boozer’s “me first” attitude. I also wonder how long Deron Williams will want to play with somebody who obviously has very little concern for the good of the team and, more often than not, doesn’t even try to play defense.
This should be a very interesting summer in Utah.