Utah Jazz: Boozer responds

Jazzman clarifies remarks about his opting out

Published: Saturday, Oct. 10 2015 6:59 a.m. MDT

Utah Jazz forward Carlos Boozer (5) shows some frustration with fouls late in the fourth quarter as the Utah Jazz host the Portland Trailblazers at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City. (Mike Terry, Deseret News) Utah Jazz forward Carlos Boozer (5) shows some frustration with fouls late in the fourth quarter as the Utah Jazz host the Portland Trailblazers at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City. (Mike Terry, Deseret News)
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — He didn't practice and instead underwent — as expected — a second MRI exam on the damaged left knee that has kept him out 15 consecutive games.
And on a different damage-control front Thursday, Jazz power forward Carlos Boozer said he wanted to "clarify" comments regarding contract opt-out plans in the coming offseason that were made to a national reporter one night earlier in New Jersey.
Said Boozer on Wednesday, according to ESPN.com: "I'm opting out. No matter what, I'm going to get a raise regardless. I am going to opt out, I don't see why I wouldn't. I think it's a very good business decision for me and my family, but I'd also like to see what happens with the Jazz and stay here."
After undergoing his medical test, results of which were not immediately made known by the Jazz, the two-time All-Star elaborated for two local reporters.
"What I was trying to say to him was, 'Obviously in my business, like in most people's businesses, you get a chance every now and then to sign a long-term contract and have stability,"' Boozer said. "So the smart thing for me as an individual, obviously, would be to opt out."
But, he added, "All I really said — and it's the same thing I'm telling you guys now — is that this summer I'll look at the situation. I'll make a decision then. Honestly, I have my opportunity to opt out and have a long-term deal as opposed to a one-year deal, and it's something I think will be advantageous for any athlete."
Boozer is in the fifth year of a six-year, $68 million contract that pays $12.66 million this season. He has the right to opt out of the final year and, on July 1, become an unrestricted free agent.
But Thursday — shortly after teammates practiced for tonight's visit with Detroit, their third stop in a five-game trip that included Wednesday's 22-point rally in New Jersey — he went to great lengths to suggest he wants to remain with the Jazz.
In doing so, however, Boozer also left wiggle room for leaving.
"Obviously I want to stay here with the team. I wasn't trying to say I was gonna leave or anything like that. Obviously I'll look at my options," said Boozer, who for quite some time has had a supposed likely suitor in the very city he spends his summers, Miami.
"But the smart thing for me is to opt out, and instead of having a one-year deal possibly having a six-year deal," he added. "That makes sense from a business standpoint."
Boozer addressed several other specific questions Thursday, including:
• If he feared detractors will question his commitment to the Jazz this season:
"They shouldn't. They shouldn't. I'm a Jazzman," he said. "Obviously I'm an integral part in getting this team to the level where we are, and hopefully getting us to a championship level.
"Obviously ... I can opt out this summer and sign a six-year deal and stay with my team, which would be a beautiful thing, especially if we're able to keep the pieces around us to have a chance to win a championship. So, it has nothing to do with me wanting to leave Utah. It has to do with stability."
• If he already has told Jazz management and ownership he wants to remain in Utah:
"Absolutely," he said. "We've had great conversations, and that's exactly what we think.
"We haven't talked a great deal — but the conversation that we have had has been about me staying and them wanting me to stay here."
• If he has become a distraction to the team:
"No, I don't think so. ... We already have enough on our plate," he said. "But I really hope not. I wasn't trying to. ... I'm trying to get back healthy so I can help my team win."
• If he'll insist on a raise, as suggested by his "No matter what, I'm going to get a raise regardless" comment to ESPN.com.
"He (the Web site reporter) basically put that in my mouth. Without saying it in so many words," Boozer said. "He used that word (raise). I didn't even use that word. I don't even talk like that."
• If he'd be willing to re-sign with the Jazz while forgoing a raise so they could address other payroll concerns, including re-signing backup Paul Millsap:
"That's something we'll talk about if we have to cross that bridge," he said. "If that's something they need, that's something I will talk to them about. But I haven't had any indication of that at all."
• If he thought the Jazz will trade him later this season because they feared losing him to free agency without recouping anything:
"In every conversation I've had, that's not what they're gonna do," he said. "I mean, obviously we've seen things happen in the past with other teams and in other situations. But I don't have any indication at all that they want to trade me. I don't anticipate that at all."
Boozer suggested his Wednesday comments were not at all scripted but instead came in the course of a "casual conversation" regarding his offseason options.
"I didn't plan on talking about this," he said. "It just kind of happened.
"Next thing I know," Boozer added, "it turned into a big media thing."
As for his knee, Boozer said MRI results have been sent to a Los Angeles doctor for evaluation. Regarding his status for tonight, he said, "I would assume it's 'out,' just because of the way my knee felt (Wednesday)."
The 16-11 Jazz are 8-7 this season without Boozer, who exactly one month ago tonight strained the quadriceps tendon over his left kneecap and bruised his kneecap.
"My focus is to get healthy, as you guys know," Boozer said. "I've been getting treatment all the time. I just want to get back on the court, and help my teammates get us back to being one of the elite in the NBA."

E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

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