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Boozer says he doesn't plan to return to Utah Jazz

Published: Tuesday, July 28 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

Carlos Boozer has been rumored to be headed anywhere from New York to New Jersey to Detroit to Houston for the 2009-10 season. But the power forward has made it more than clear in recent weeks that he'd like playing in Chicago and that he'd really, really love playing in Miami next year.

So, can he envision himself returning for a sixth season in Utah?

When asked a similar question Monday by a Miami sports-radio host, the Jazz power forward-for-now gave a simple, four-letter, two-word response:

"Um, no."

And that was just part of the somewhat juicy stuff he shared on Florida airwaves where he currently calls home. During the interview with WQAM's Joe Rose, Boozer, who recently opted to play out the final year of his contract with the Jazz for $12.7 million, also:

-- voiced concerns about financial hardships caused by the "lull" in the economy and taxes;

-- lauded his own playoff performance this past spring against the Los Angeles Lakers;

-- declared himself "100 percent healthy;"

-- reiterated his desire to make the South Beach area his year-round home instead of just an offseason destination.

Boozer also played to the Heat's hometown crowd while talking about possibly playing on the same team as his former Olympic teammate, buddy and Miami superstar, Dwyane Wade.

"We're in our prime right now," Boozer said. "I tell you one thing, it would be a hell of a combo."

Boozer said the ball is in the Jazz's court as far as trading him — something he recently claimed the organization told him it was going to do because he allegedly doesn't fit into its long-term plans — but the two-time All-Star added that he isn't pressuring the Jazz to deal him to the Heat.

"That's not my style. It's not me and what we do," he said. "They're in control of that situation.

"Obviously," he added, "they'll handle it in the best way that they can. They'll keep me and my agent abroad and just see what happens, but I'm staying out of it. My agent's staying out of it for the most part. We're letting (Jazz general manager) Kevin O'Connor and the Utah Jazz take care of the stituation."

But, hypothetically speaking (apparently), Boozer wouldn't be opposed to being moved to Miami.

"I mean, for players that come to the Heat, it's very exciting for a couple of different reasons," he said. "One, they have one of the top-notch organizations in our league, in our sport. They're run by Pat Riley. They have a brand-new coach in Erik Spoelstra who's very exciting, plays very up-tempo, very excited to be a coach right now. He coaches with a lot of enthusiasm.

"And they have one of the best players in the game in Dwyane Wade. If a player does come to the Miami Heat, they have a lot to look forward to on top of being in Miami."

One of the biggest incentives: no state income tax. That is a very enticing benefit of Florida living, according to Boozer, who will make $12.7 million next year wherever he plays.

"Especially in this economy," he said when asked about Florida's tax-friendly situation. "With the lull that we're having, obviously it's a great (incentive) to not have to pay a state tax.

"As fortunate as we are to have the jobs that we do, it's still tough when you're getting hit by the taxes that we get hit by," Boozer added. "And we're all going through a tough time right now financially. But at the same time, to live in a place where you don't have to pay state tax, it gives you a little bit more of the money that you earn in your bank account."

Boozer told the Miami radio station that he was "asked not to speak about" his alleged imminent trade, but it's hard for him not to wonder what will happen.

"It's not tough (hearing the trade rumors), but at the same time you anticipate, you know, trying to figure out where you're going to be at," Boozer said. "You get excited at the same time when you hear certain rumors. But that being said, I'm working my butt off trying to get ready for next season so I can help a team hopefully win a championship."

Just not, according to him, the Utah Jazz.

"My wife's asking me, 'Are we moving ... are we staying? Do we have to sell the house in Utah? What are we doing?' " he said. "Hopefully we'll find out soon. ... But again, it's in Utah's hands and I'm sure they'll do the right thing."

When asked about his health — the 6-9, 266-pounder missed one-third of his games during the first five seasons in Utah due to injuries — Boozer proclaimed himself to be in tip-top shape.

"I had knee surgery last year, came back and fully recovered, had a really good individual playoff run, but my team fell short as we lost to the Lakers," Boozer said. "But I'm feeling 100 percent healthy, feeling great. We're down here in Miami and getting ready for a great upcoming season."

e-mail: jody@desnews.com

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