Utah Jazz: Korver stays; what about others?

Mehmet Okur's agent in Salt Lake

Published: Tuesday, June 30 2009 12:46 a.m. MDT

Mehmet Okur

Tom Smart, Deseret News

Kyle Korver won't be leaving Salt Lake City, and Mehmet Okur's agent has come to town.

But Carlos Boozer's vow to opt out of the final season of his current deal with the Jazz may have hit a roadblock, setting up today as a likely wild one in Utah for down-to-the wire decisions on the NBA's deadline day for contract opt-outs.

Korver's agent, Jeff Schwartz, informed the Jazz on Monday that the backup shooting guard won't exercise his early termination option and will return next season, Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said.

Meanwhile, Okur's agent, Marc Fleisher, flew in from Connecticut on Monday night — perhaps indicating either a contract extension agreement or a termination opt-out decision today for the Jazz's starting center.

Fleisher on Friday said Okur was "leaning toward opting out," but his surprise trip here Monday seems to signal the two sides were continuing to talk. If no agreement on an extension can be reached, Fleisher must hand-deliver termination notice today.

"Nothing new," Fleisher said via e-mail Monday night.

As for Boozer, ESPN.com on Monday cited unidentified "sources close to" Utah's starting power forward and two-time NBA All-Star as saying he's "still mulling his options and won't make a decision until (today)," but, "there's a significant chance Boozer will exercise his player option and return to the Jazz next season."

If so, that could spell financial doom for the Jazz — and perhaps adversely alter their hopes for keeping both Paul Millsap, their backup power forward who becomes a restricted free agent when the NBA's summer shopping market opens at 10 tonight, and Okur.

Boozer said in late April that he wouldn't return to the Jazz for just next season, when — if he doesn't opt out — he's due to make $12,657,223. He also told ESPN.com in December that "I'm opting out" and "no matter what, I'm going to get a raise regardless."

But with only Detroit reported to have both enough interest and team payroll salary cap money to sign Boozer now, and even all that uncertain at best, he might have to reverse course.

The only other teams with cap money to sign Boozer are Memphis and Oklahoma City. The Grizzlies don't have interest, and ESPN.com cited an unidentified source as saying the Thunder don't either.

If Boozer does opt out by today's 3 p.m. deadline, it seems unlikely now that Utah would meet his demands and sign him to a new multi-year deal.

Wrote ESPN.com's Chad Ford on Monday: "For months it was assumed that Boozer would land in Detroit. But last week Pistons sources told ESPN.com that Boozer wasn't the team's highest priority and that if they pursued him, they weren't willing to give him the $13-15 million a year he's looking for.

"If neither the Pistons nor Jazz offered Boozer a contract, he might be forced to take the mid-level exception from a team — a drastic $7 million pay cut for Boozer next season. That, according to sources, is what is keeping Boozer up at night. If he opts out, he's taking a huge gamble ... one that few GMs expect him to take."

ESPN.com also quoted one unidentified Eastern Conference GM as saying, "As soon as it looked like the Pistons were the only team with the money and desire to pay him, I knew Boozer would be changing his mind. Unless I knew for sure that the Pistons would pay me big bucks, you just can't make that gamble. I fully expect him to be back with the Jazz next year."

Korver will be back.

He had until today to decide, but Schwartz informed O'Connor Monday afternoon that Korver would return.

The 28-year Creighton University product, six-season NBA pro and former Philadelphia 76er will make $5,163,636 next season.

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