Utah Jazz shop Boozer, still want Millsap

Published: Friday, Oct. 9 2015 10:30 p.m. MDT

They're trying to trade Carlos Boozer, and they evidently intend to match Portland's offer for Paul Millsap.

But the Jazz suggest the two are independent matters, and that even if they can't trade starting power forward Boozer this week, it doesn't necessarily mean they'll shy away from matching the four-year, $32 million offer sheet backup power forward and restricted free agent Millsap signed last Friday with the Trail Blazers.

Moreover, the Jazz have indicated they won't succumb to low-ball offers for Boozer from teams that feel Utah is anxious — perhaps even desperate — to deal him now.

They even claim to be open to perhaps starting the season with both Boozer and Millsap on their roster — which is something one NBA agent said Tuesday that he and many other NBA general managers simply don't buy, because they don't believe the Jazz want Boozer anywhere near their team next season.

Not even, that is, under the premise he'd have no choice but to help them because he'd feel obliged to produce — if for no other reason than he must in order to improve his personal negotiating power as a free agent next summer.

With that as the backdrop, Boozer rumors ran rampant Tuesday, and Boozer himself told a Chicago radio station not only that he expects to soon be traded but also that he'll be happy if he is.

Boozer, who has not spoken to Utah media since the Jazz's season ended in late April, said this to WMVP 1000-AM, the ESPN affiliate in Chicago, when asked if he thought he'd be dealt:

"Yeah, I do. I had a talk with the Jazz, and the Jazz told me they want to go in a different direction, and I respected their decision, and we mutually agreed to work out a trade that was beneficial to them and as well beneficial for my family and me. So, with that being said, I'm gonna be traded ... relatively soon or in good time."

Tuesday's buzz had Chicago, Miami, New York and Detroit still among potential destinations for Boozer, a two-time NBA All-Star who has been on the trade block since he opted in late last month for the final year and last $12.65 million on his current contract with the Jazz.

"We'll see what happens," Boozer, who didn't respond to interview requests made through both his agent's office and the Jazz, said when asked by the radio station if Chicago is his favored destination.

"I mean I'd love to be a part of the Chicago Bulls," he added. "A lot of that lays in the Utah Jazz hands, but we'll see what they wanna do and hopefully I'll do what's best for me as well. If it happens, I'll be very happy."

Boozer's camp would prefer to go somewhere where he could be cheerful long-term, and to a team willing to offer him a lucrative multiyear contract extension.

"I'd definitely be open to signing an extension and being locked into a team — obviously, one, that wanted me to be there in the future and, two, that I thought we would have a chance to succeed," he told WMVP, the Bulls' flagship station. "That would be something me and my agent would explore right away."

No matter what they might have told him, however, the Jazz are under no obligation whatsoever to do what's best for Boozer.

Their primary interest is what's best for them, and what that is — on both the Boozer trade and Millsap match fronts — could be decided during a meeting among Jazz front-office and ownership personnel that is thought to be scheduled for either today or Thursday.

That could entail sending Boozer either to a contending team that truly wants him long-term, or perhaps to a bottom-of-the-pack club that merely wants to borrow his expiring contract for a year so it can gain team payroll salary cap space for the NBA's 2010 summer free-agency shopping market.

After all, the Jazz do control his rights — and, because he opted in, he no longer has a say in the matter.

As for the Bulls, a three-team deal that would have sent Boozer to Chicago, brought forward Tyrus Thomas to Utah and moved guard Kirk Hinrich from Chicago to Portland broke down late last week.

But the Bulls, who remain interested in moving Hinrich, and Jazz continue to talk.

"Great organization, top-notch from top to bottom," Boozer, speaking to WMVP, said of the Bulls. "They do things very professionally there.

"At the same time, they have a very good group of talent there.

"If I was able to come there," he added, "I'd add a lot, especially in the low post and being a leader as well."

e-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company