Lakers' Carlos Boozer says demotion to bench was a surprise

Lakers' Carlos Boozer says demotion to bench was a surprise
Lakers forward Carlos Boozer runs during a win over the Toronto Raptors on Nov. 30. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

It was at least 45 minutes after the Lakers completed practice Monday before Carlos Boozer shared his thoughts about being demoted from the starting lineup in Sunday's game against New Orleans, along with point guard Jeremy Lin.

Boozer shot extra free throws and then spent seven minutes talking with Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak after practice before walking into the team's locker room. The media waited out Boozer and formed a circle around the benched power forward because he didn't talk Sunday night after losing his job to Ed Davis.


"Obviously it was a surprise," said Boozer, who had 12 points coming off the bench against New Orleans. "I didn't expect that. But if it helps our team win, I'm a team player. So if it helps our team win, that's what it's going to be."

Boozer said he missed the shoot-around before Sunday's game because he was ill and didn't find out about his status until right before game time.

And what did Lakers Coach Byron Scott tell him?

"We haven't talked about it," Boozer said.

Did Boozer want to talk to Scott?

"We just haven't talked about it," Boozer snapped.

Scott told the media he made the lineup changes because of the team's poor record and he started Davis because he wanted a better defensive effort.

"That's just his opinion," Boozer said.

What did Boozer think?

"I have a different opinion," Boozer snapped again. "I'll keep it to myself."

Scott said he "doesn't massage egos," especially with the Lakers' 5-16 record.

The Lakers' 104-87 loss to New Orleans didn't change Scott's plans. Davis and Ronnie Price will continue to start, with Boozer and Lin coming off the bench, Scott said.

"With me, it's nothing personal, because I like Carlos and I like Jeremy," Scott said. "But from basketball standpoint, I had to make a change because I wasn't getting what I needed from that first unit, so I made changes."

Boozer, 33, started the first 19 games this season for the Lakers, and he had started in every game he played for eight consecutive years with Chicago and Utah.


But his streak of starting in 569 consecutive games came to an end against New Orleans.

"Yeah, it's different," Boozer said. "I've never come off the bench in my career."

And how about that conversation between Boozer and Kupchak?

"Just me and Mitch talking," Boozer said. "That's not for you guys [in the media]. That's for us."

Then after a 2-minute 13-second interview, Boozer ended the session and walked away.



When: 7:30.

Where: Staples Center.

On the air: TV: TWC SportsNet, TWC Deportes; Radio: 710, 1330.

Records: Lakers 5-16, Kings 10-10 (before Monday's game at Utah).

Record vs. Kings (2013-14): 3-1.

Update: The Lakers are looking to end a losing streak at three games. The Lakers are giving up 110.9 points per game, the most in the NBA. Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, who is averaging 23.5 points and 12.6 rebounds per game, will be out at least another week because of a viral infection.