Paul Millsap stays.
That much was made known today, when — one day prior to the deadline for doing so — it was decided by the Jazz that they'd definitely be matching the four-year $32 million offer sheet that their restricted free agent power forward signed late last week with the Portland Trail Blazers.
That would be with the one with about $10.3 million — including a $5.6 million bonus, and approximately $4.7 million of $6.3 first-season salary — due to be paid before the end of the month.
When Carlos Boozer goes, however, remains to be seen.
When word on Millsap leaked late this afternoon, it prompted speculation that either a trade for on-the-block power forward Boozer was about to be made — or, in the alternative, that perhaps the Jazz were hoping other teams, now knowing their Millsap plan and realizing they were willing to match on him even Boozer had not yet been dealt, would sweeten their offers for the two-time NBA All-Star.
Chicago and Miami seem to remain the two most-interested Boozer suitors today, with New York a lesser likely but still viable option, Detroit not completely ruled out and Portland perhaps back in the picture as part of a three-way deal because the Millsap decision restored their $7.7 million in team payroll salary cap space.
When talk of a three-team trade that in one discussed form might have sent Boozer to Chicago, guard Kirk Hinrich from Chicago to Portland and power forward Tyrus Thomas from Chicago to Utah broke down late last week, the Blazers moved on Millsap.
And the Jazz moved on to discussing other proposals, including one — as reported late Wednesday night by Yahoo.com — that could bring power forward Udonis Haslem from Miami to Utah and the Heat routing swingman Dorrell Wright through Utah to Memphis to create about $5.6 million in financial relief for the Jazz.
Another reported possibility is a deal with Chicago with Hinrich going to Utah and Portland cut out of the swap.
By matching on Millsap, the Jazz made it abundantly clear they consider the 2006 second-round draft choice — a backup to Boozer for most of his first three years in Utah — their starting power forward for the foreseeable future.
The Louisiana Tech product averaged 13.5 points and 8.6 games rebounds per game last season, and while Boozer was out with a injury that led to arthroscopic knee injury — enjoyed one stretch with 19 consecutive double-doubles.
The Jazz acknowledged the decision on their Web site with a one-line statement saying they've "confirmed that they will match Portland's offer to Paul Millsap."
Calls for reaction on the decision were not returned from Millsap's two representatives, DeAngelo Simmons and Ara Vartanian, who last week ripped the Jazz for their handling of the matter and suggested their client would much rather play in Portland than remain in Utah.
Millsap will make $6.3 million on base salary next season, $6.2 million in 2010-11, $6.7 million in 2011-12 and $7.2 million in 2012-13.
For salary cap and team payroll luxury-tax threshold computation purposes, however, the $5.6 million signing bonus is spread out over the length of the contract — meaning hits of $7.5 million next, followed by $7.4 million, $7.9 million and $8.4 million.
That also brings the Jazz's payroll to more than $80 million for next season — and means, if no other transactions are made before the end of next season, that Jazz would be looking at paying more than $10 million in punitive tax for exceeding the excessive-spending threshold.
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