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Jazz notes: O'Connor pays visit to Boozer in L.A.

Jazz senior v.p. says that forward is in great shape

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 16 2005 12:00 a.m. MDT

The report that Jazz coach Jerry Sloan mentioned on Aug. 2 that said power forward Carlos Boozer is in powerful shape have been seconded by Kevin O'Connor's in-person encounter with Boozer in Los Angeles on Friday.

Boozer is working out and playing with other NBA players, who play in three or four L.A. gyms. O'Connor, the Jazz's senior vice president of basketball operations, met with him there and tried to soothe Boozer's mind regarding the recent rumors about him and/or Matt Harpring being dangled for trades.

"I sat with him, and I told him, 'It's all hogwash; I don't know what else to tell you,' " O'Connor said about reports that Utah is shopping Boozer around.

O'Connor said he's happy to listen to any legitimate offer about anybody, but, "I've never picked up the phone (to initiate anything) about that kid this summer," he said. "We are not active in trying to pursue a trade."

After seeing a very fit Boozer on Friday, that resolve is probably even stronger.

"He's in fantastic shape," O'Connor said. "He looks in terrific shape. Everybody's been talking about how hard he's been working and what he looks like. I didn't see him play, I just saw him standing in a shirt and a pair of shorts, but he looks terrific."

WHY L.A.?: O'Connor didn't go to L.A. specifically to see Boozer. But what else happened in L.A. on Friday involving the Jazz? There were reports in Los Angeles papers that Utah and Denver made offers to Clipper restricted free agent guard Marko Jaric that were high enough the Clips didn't want to match them, even though they'd said all along they would. So the Clippers on Friday entered into a sign-and-trade deal that they had said they wouldn't want to do and sent Jaric and guard Lionel Chalmers to Minnesota for Sam Cassell, who has one year remaining on his contract, and a lottery-protected 2006 draft pick.

Anyway, talk about the Jazz making a nice offer to Jaric may have been pretty near the target.

The Jazz also apparently made one of the better offers — the best one, according to the Indianapolis Star — for Lithuanian Olympian Sarunas Jasikevicius, who instead took Indiana's money, saying he wanted to be with a winning team.

MCLEOD UPDATE: Jazz restricted free agent Keith McLeod's name has come up with regard to Cleveland and Toronto recently, and some teams may have called the Jazz to inquire about McLeod. But Utah has not yet been presented with an offer sheet to match. After losing Mo Williams to Milwaukee's $5.5-million, three-year offer sheet that they didn't match last year, and then facing a situation where they'd like to have had him last season, it's likely the Jazz would match anything other than an outrageous bid for McLeod.

AMNESTY: The Jazz and other teams were still awaiting the full fallout of last night's midnight-Eastern deadline for teams to waive unwieldy contracts and save themselves some luxury tax. It was a feature of the latest collective bargaining agreement.

The Jazz aren't near the luxury tax threshold and did not plan to use the opportunity, though O'Connor noted that some teams that foresee nearing next year's luxury tax were thinking of using the one-time rule before last night's deadline for the future.

The amnesty deadline slowed some free-agent signing talks, and the Jazz were waiting to see what's available now that everything is done in that respect.

BIG BEN, LOPEZ: Jazz free agent center Ben Handlogten is of interest to the team in Unicaja, Spain, which is pondering several big men should it not be able to sign Puerto Rican center Daniel Santiago.

Oft-injured point guard Raul Lopez, who wanted to play at home in Spain rather than return to the Jazz following knee surgery and then was traded to Memphis, is expected to report to Girona in Spain soon, once Memphis completes paperwork. He is expected to play there this season, according to ESP, on the Web site for the international basketball federation (FIBA).

MISC: O'Connor said there was no new news on San Antonio guard Devin Brown, a restricted free agent who visited Salt Lake City last week. Asked about BYU product Travis Hansen, a free agent said to be of interest to Denver and Utah, O'Connor refused comment but said, "We're talking to a lot of people."


E-mail: lham@desnews.com

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