SALT LAKE CITY — With the NBA's summer free agency negotiating period having opened late Wednesday night, all of the expected suspects — Miami, Chicago, New Jersey and New York — have at least some degree of interest in possibly signing Jazz unrestricted free agent power forward Carlos Boozer.
The Orlando Magic appear to be a legitimate contender, too, via a potential sign-and-trade deal with Utah.
Boozer does not have total say in his future, however, because wherever Toronto unrestricted free agent power forward Chris Bosh goes, he most likely would not.
The Miami Herald reported Wednesday that Miami team president Pat Riley planned to meet with Boozer and Phoenix Suns big man Amare Stoudemire, "but Riley's dream scenario is a Dwyane Wade/LeBron James/Chris Bosh troika."
According to the Herald, "Riley, hopeful but uncertain he can pull it off, has interest in Stoudemire and Boozer if Bosh balks."
The Herald also reported that both "James and Wade have spoken to Boozer in recent days, and Wade made clear he would welcome playing with Boozer, who's a close friend," and that while "Stoudemire's camp believes he is Miami's No. 2 power forward choice behind Bosh ... Boozer's camp was left with the impression that he is Miami's No. 2 power forward choice behind Bosh."
Yahoo.com, meanwhile, quoted unidentified "sources" as saying that Boozer, Stoudemire and Atlanta free agent Joe Johnson all "have also discussed various scenarios with their fellow free agents."
As for the Orlando sign-and-trade possibility, CBSSports.com on Wednesday identified Boozer as being on Magic star Dwight Howard's "short list" of preferred offseason acquisitions.
The Magic's official team website addressed a potential Boozer-to-Orlando scenario earlier this week.
The Magic are over the NBA's team payroll salary cap, though, so obtaining Boozer would have to involve a sign-and-trade deal between Orlando and Utah.
Elsewhere, ESPN.com asked eight of its NBA reporters and bloggers to predict where Boozer will sign.
Four chose New Jersey, two New York, one Miami and one Chicago, but only one — John Hollinger — ventured to suggest his guess had a higher than 50 percent chance of actually happening.
Wrote Hollinger: "He's had eyes for the Heat for a long time, and the only thing that could thwart him is if Miami hits the LeBron-Bosh jackpot."
All four top contenders with cap space — Miami, Chicago, New Jersey and New York — supposedly plan to meet with Boozer.
Boozer has not yet ruled out the possibility of staying with the Jazz, who have said publicly that they want to keep him and that finding a way to do so is the top priority of their offseason.
Utah is expected to make an offer, and could do as early as sometime today, if it hasn't already.
The Jazz's chances of actually retaining Boozer, though, seem far-fetched for now.48 comments on this story
He is not Utah's only unrestricted free agent.
New Jersey and San Antonio are among the teams expected to show interest in Kyle Korver, the Jazz's backup shooting guard and the NBA's record-setting 3-point shooter last season.
Jazz starting shooting guard Wesley Matthews and backup center Kyrylo Fesenko both are restricted free agents.