SALT LAKE CITY — Carlos Boozer probably will receive a rude welcome when he returns to Energy Solutions Arena tonight when the Bulls play the Utah Jazz. But his former coach and teammates have nothing but positive words for Boozer.
“I thought he was a terrific player; I always did,” Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. “When he came here, he was a very good passer, he could put the ball on the floor, he sees what’s going on in the game and when he gets around the basket he rebounds the ball. He’s got terrific hands.”
The always-frank Sloan said a lot of the negative feeling stem from Boozer missing 138 games in six seasons for a variety of injuries.
“The only thing that happened is people were on his butt because he didn’t play,” Sloan said. “I never had a problem at all. He was a terrific guy to coach and he was just a heck of a player.
“My relationship with him was fine. We weren’t dinner buddies or anything like that, but we appreciated what he did and what he brought to his team every night. When you lose a player with those kind of abilities, it’s not easy to replace.”
Jazz point guard Deron Williams, the former Illinois star, believes Boozer eventually will be remembered in a positive vein.
“He did a lot for this organization, won a lot of games, was a great player, two All-Star games and had a lot of accolades while he was here,” Williams said. “I think he should be remembered in a good way.”