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Utah Jazz notebook: Wesley Matthews, Kyrylo Fesenko get qualifying offers

Published: Friday, Sept. 4 2015 12:31 a.m. MDT

Utah's Kyrylo Fesenko goes up for a basket as the Utah Jazz host the Portland Trailblazers at Energy Solutions Arena. (Mike Terry, Deseret News) Utah's Kyrylo Fesenko goes up for a basket as the Utah Jazz host the Portland Trailblazers at Energy Solutions Arena. (Mike Terry, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Even with the Carlos Boozer watch all-systems go now, and other franchises lining up to talk to him and other marquee NBA free agents, business continues for the Jazz.

The team on Monday made contract qualifying offers for next season to both starting shooting guard Wesley Matthews and backup center Kyrylo Fesenko, formally making both restricted free agents when the NBA's summer shopping market opens late Wednesday night.

Fesenko's offer is for $1,087,500 and Matthews' is for $937,135, based on current collective bargaining agreement rules between the NBA and its players association.

Wednesday is the deadline for making qualifying offers to prospective restricted free agents, but the Jazz made them Monday anyway.

The moves — largely anticipated, and mostly a formality — essentially mean Utah retains the right to match should either player sign an offer sheet from another team.

Utah Jazz guard Wesley Matthews is fouled by Denver Nuggets center Chris Andersen during Game 5 of the first round of the NBA playoffs in Denver on Wednesday. The Jazz lost 116-102. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Utah Jazz guard Wesley Matthews is fouled by Denver Nuggets center Chris Andersen during Game 5 of the first round of the NBA playoffs in Denver on Wednesday. The Jazz lost 116-102. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

In the case of Matthews, an undrafted rookie last season, that means being able to match any offer up to and including full-midlevel exception money — but not in the unlikely event that the Marquette product is offered a deal that starts above the anticipated midlevel starting salary of approximately $6 million for next season.

In the case of Fesenko, who will be training and playing next month with his Ukrainian national team, it means an offer of any sort.

"After the way he played in the playoffs and the commitment that's been made to him at this point, it's safe to say (the qualifying offer) was expected," Fesenko's agent, Stu Lash, said by phone Monday.

After usual starting center Mehmet Okur ruptured an Achilles tendon during Game 1 of their first-round postseason series with the Denver Nuggets, Fesenko — a 2007 second-round draft pick — started for the Jazz throughout the rest of the 2010 playoffs.

He averaged 18.1 minutes, 3.9 rebounds and 3.1 points in 10 postseason games — 10.2 more minutes, 2.1 more rebounds and 0.5 more points than in his third NBA regular season.

It remains to be seen if the Jazz will attempt to agree on terms with Fesenko and/or Matthews shortly after the NBA's free-agency negotiating period opens at 10 p.m. (MT) Wednesday, or if they'll wait until after higher-priority matters — especially the fate of unrestricted free agent power forward Boozer — are settled.

"We want to be there," said Fesenko's representative, Lash.

"If that means doing something sooner — they (the Jazz) kind of have control on that aspect," he added. "We can go out there and look, and there's sure to be interest in a 23-year-old who has developed. But that's not our main objective right now."

The Jazz evidently are interested in retaining Fesenko as well.

The Jazz also seem determined to keep Matthews, who took over as starting shooting guard after Ronnie Brewer was traded to Memphis in February.

"With Wesley," Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said Monday night, "it's a great grasp of the obvious that we would extend the qualifying offer."

The Jazz previously indicated they're more inclined to keep him than veteran backup Kyle Korver, an unrestricted free agent.

As for Boozer, who makes his offseason home in the Miami area, he has no known plans to travel to Utah to meet with Jazz brass when the negotiating period opens Wednesday.

Instead, at least initially, they're expected to deal with his camp by phone.

But Boozer — a two-time NBA All-Star and Utah's leading scorer and rebounder last season — is likely to meet with officials from Chicago, New Jersey, Miami and perhaps New York sometime in the next week or so.

The Heat are believed to be interested in Boozer only if they cannot land Toronto power forward Chris Bosh, but the Bulls may actually prefer him over Bosh.

The Nets' interest in Boozer may have diminished when it drafted Georgia Tech power forward Derrick Favors at No. 3 overall in last Thursday's NBA Draft, and the level of his true appeal to the Knicks is uncertain.

ESPN.com reported Monday that "teams are interested in Boozer because he could come cheaper than (Phoenix) forward Amare Stoudemire," who "views himself as a max-salary player."

The website cited unnamed "sources" in reporting that "clubs believe they can get Boozer for multiple years at a contract beginning around $13 million a year."

He made $12.66 million last season with the Jazz, who because of luxury-tax concerns are not expected to be able to offer a deal starting as high as that figure.

e-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

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