Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — The Jazz made it through the first full day of 2010 NBA free agency without losing two-time All-Star power forward Carlos Boozer.
How much longer they stay in the hunt, or if they can actually retain him, remains to be seen.
As of Thursday night, the Jazz had not yet made a formal contract offer to Boozer, their leading scorer and rebounder last season.
And they don't expect to know for at least a couple more days just what he plans to do.
But general manager Kevin O'Connor said that since the league's summer shopping market opened late Wednesday night, "we've had dialogue every day, twice a day."
ESPN.com cited an unidentified "league source" in reporting Thursday that "Boozer met with Utah and the Miami Heat in South Florida on Thursday," that today he is "scheduled to meet with the Bulls in Chicago" and that — according to an unidentified source — "Boozer will also meet with the New Jersey Nets over the weekend."
That report, however, is factually incorrect in at least one regard, because Jazz representatives have not traveled anywhere yet to meet with Boozer and all of their contact with his camp has been by phone.
Beyond Utah's attempts to re-sign Boozer, the Bulls very much are in the running for the 28-year-old, the Heat have him as a fallback possibility, the Nets are seriously considering him, and — last among the league's four major free-agency players — the New York Knicks appear to have the least interest.
Chicago supposedly wants Boozer if it can't get Chris Bosh, but there are conflicting reports on whether Miami would prefer Boozer or Phoenix big man Amare Stoudemire if it can't get Bosh.
The possibility of a sign-and-trade deal with the Orlando Magic, meanwhile, remains very much alive — contrary to a report out of Orlando suggesting otherwise.
The Orlando Sentinel reported Thursday that prominent NBA agent Tony Dutt, who represents the Magic's Rashard Lewis and Brandon Bass, "said a rumored sign-and-trade deal between the Magic and the Utah Jazz 'has no legs.' "
The Jazz, however, are known to have interest in several players on the Magic roster, one that includes Bass, big man Marcin Gortat, swingman Mickael Pietrus and restricted free agent shooting guard J.J. Redick.
Boozer is a good friend of Magic star Dwight Howard, and if the Magic were to be interested in acquiring the Jazz star, it's quite likely Utah would be willing to entertain sign-and-trade talk.
Elsewhere Thursday, the New York Post reported that Boozer is "coveted" by the Nets, the New York Daily News reported that "the thinking is the Knicks will likely opt to re-sign (David) Lee" before Boozer, and the Chicago Tribune reported that "Bosh's desires for maximum money and little interest in Stoudemire have increased the Bulls' interest in (Boozer)."
According to the Tribune, "the Bulls' ideal plan is to get a verbal commitment from one player while preserving the roughly $16.6 million of cap space it would take to land a maximum-salary type such as (LeBron) James or (Dwyane) Wade.
"Doing so would improve the Bulls' pitch when it points to its solid core of (Derrick) Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and Taj Gibson."
"The targeting of Boozer," the Tribune report said, "proves an ability to forget the past."
"Jim Paxson, a Bulls' consultant and brother of (Chicago basketball operations vice president) John (Paxson), served as Cavaliers general manager when Boozer reneged on a verbal agreement with (late Cleveland Cavaliers) owner Gordon Gund to sign with the Jazz. Sources said the Bulls aren't opposed to adding Boozer because of this incident."
Boozer just completed the six-year, $68 million contract that he signed with Utah after leaving Cleveland, a deal that paid him $12.66 million this past season.
He is known to be seeking a multi-year deal that starts in the same general pay range, if not more.
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