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updated: 12/13/2011 9:00 PM

Boozer likes roster, and Hamilton's potential

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  • Forward Carlos Boozer is sporting a new look and 20 fewer pounds, and Bulls coaches are expecting a big year from him after he was slowed last season by injuries.

      Forward Carlos Boozer is sporting a new look and 20 fewer pounds, and Bulls coaches are expecting a big year from him after he was slowed last season by injuries.

  • Bulls forward Carlos Boozer likes the current roster, and says he's not offended that Orlando center Dwight Howard doesn't have the Bulls on his list of potential teams to join.

      Bulls forward Carlos Boozer likes the current roster, and says he's not offended that Orlando center Dwight Howard doesn't have the Bulls on his list of potential teams to join.
    Associated Press

 

On relatively quiet day at the Berto Center, Carlos Boozer was available to tackle a couple of hot topics.

Regarding disgruntled Orlando center Dwight Howard, it doesn't bother Boozer that the all-star center has not mentioned the Bulls as a preferred trade destination. Howard is willing to go to the Nets, Mavs or Lakers, according to reports.

"I'm not offended at all," Boozer said Tuesday. "I love my teammates, man. I ride with the guys we have. I wouldn't trade any of my teammates. I love every one of them and I believe in what we have in the locker room."

Of course, Boozer could have a new teammate soon. Ex-Detroit guard Richard Hamilton is due to clear waivers on Wednesday afternoon and is expected to join the Bulls.

Hamilton threw some cold water on the subject Tuesday evening by sending the following message on his Twitter account: "Got my list narrowed down to 3 teams; 17 hours until I clear waivers. Can't wait. Yesssssirr."

So maybe Hamilton to the Bulls isn't a done deal after all. A league source suggested the Bulls still feel good about their chances of landing the veteran shooting guard.

"Good friend of mine, always been a great competitor," Boozer said of Hamilton. "He's been a winner his whole career. If he did come, it would be a great addition. I've admired his game for a long time."

It's not clear what the Bulls' backup plan would be. They appear to be out of the running for Jamal Crawford, who reportedly turned down a two-year, $10-million offer from Indiana and is considering a similar deal from Portland and Sacramento, or a smaller one from New York.

Boozer himself is hoping for a fresh start this season. After signing with the Bulls as a free agent in the summer of 2010, he broke his right hand less than a week into training camp and didn't return until Dec. 1.

Then he missed time twice later in the season with ankle sprains, and played through a turf-toe injury during the playoffs.

"Last year was a broken year in terms of starting, stopping, healthy, hurt," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "It's tough to go through that, and then the adjustment with a new team.

"That's behind him. This guy has done it at a high level for a long time in this league. I'm confident in his ability."

Word is Boozer has dropped 20 pounds since the end of last season. So he should be lighter, leaner and quicker this season.

The veteran power forward took some heat for his performance last season, but the criticism focused mostly on his 5 points and 6 rebounds in the Game 5 loss to Miami in the Eastern Conference finals.

Boozer had plenty of strong moments. He averaged 20.6 points, 9.7 rebounds and shot 55 percent from the field last December after returning from the broken hand.

"He's in much better shape right now," Thibodeau added. "He took his injury early on last year, first week of camp. He had a very good off-season. He's jumping again. We have a long way to go, but so far, so good."

Boozer talked about what it has been like going through a second training camp with Thibodeau. Last season the Bulls had eight newcomers and the roster and everyone was new to Thibodeau and the coaching staff.

Until Hamilton shows up, the only newcomer on the floor is rookie forward Jimmy Butler. The other 11 players in camp went through it last season.

"This year we're reviewing what we learned and adding a few things to it, adding some tweaks," Boozer said.

"I think it makes it go a lot smoother."

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