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Utah Jazz listening to offers for Boozer

Published: Saturday, July 18 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

Carlos Boozer (Michael Brandy, Deseret News) Carlos Boozer (Michael Brandy, Deseret News)

On the same day they formally announced they will match the offer sheet restricted free agent Paul Millsap signed last week with Portland, the Jazz did not deny efforts to move fellow power forward Carlos Boozer are ongoing.

The match is dependent on a physical exam taken Friday, and Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said he would not comment on the matter — beyond a short statement contained in a news release — until he knows for sure that Millsap had passed all medical tests.

"It's a relief, in a sense," Ara Vartanian, one of Millsap's representatives, said of the decision.

"We know Paul fits in well with the way coach (Jerry) Sloan coaches," Vartanian added, "so there's no mystery or question to it, so we're excited about it."

Carlos Boozer (Keith Johnson, Deseret News) Carlos Boozer (Keith Johnson, Deseret News)

As for Boozer trade talk, O'Connor was asked Friday afternoon if the Jazz were now in sit-and-wait or proactive mode.

It sounded as if they're perhaps somewhere in-between.

"I don't know what either one of those means," he said. "But I think we're continuing to talk, and continuing to monitor things, and continuing to look at what we can do to make our team better."

Chicago, Miami, New York, Detroit and now New Jersey have been most prominently mentioned as possible destinations for Boozer ever since he decided late last month to opt in for the final season and last $12.65 million on his current six-year, $68-million contract with the Jazz.

Miami's true level of interest, however, came into question Friday — even after yahoo.com earlier in the week sourced an unidentified league executive in reporting the Heat had "hatched a three-way proposal" with Utah and Memphis to "secure Boozer" while delivering both Heat power forward Udonis Haslem and financial relief to the Jazz.

Carlos Boozer (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Carlos Boozer (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Friday, after details of a private meeting between team president Pat Riley and Miami season-ticket holders were made public, that "the Heat has not entered talks about possibly acquiring Boozer ... but is monitoring that situation, with no expectation of a quick resolution by the Jazz."

If they don't land Haslem, or perhaps pry forward Tyrus Thomas from Chicago, signing Boston Celtics restricted free agent Glen "Big Baby" Davis to an offer sheet remains a possibility for the Jazz.

The New York Daily News, meanwhile, reported that while "a deal with the Knicks is possible," it also is "complicated" because restricted free agent forward and possible trade piece David Lee is a base-year compensation player.

The contracts of base-year compensation players basically are valued at half for calculating trade value, often making them difficult to deal.

Carlos Boozer (Tom Smart, Deseret Morning News) Carlos Boozer (Tom Smart, Deseret Morning News)

"And although Utah likes Lee, the Jazz probably wouldn't come close to meeting his asking price," the Daily News report added.

"Utah also has the luxury of waiting until the (February) trading deadline to move Boozer."

Furthermore, ESPN.com reported late this week, "If the Jazz can't complete a three-team deal involving one of the few teams possessing cap space when they ultimately move Boozer," they'll either try "to work with a team that has a good-sized trade exception" or look for "a conventional trade" that includes a contract which is not fully guaranteed.

Nothing was imminent on the Boozer trade front, O'Connor suggested late Friday.

But if they don't get a deal done in the next few days, it could happen in ensuing weeks.

Carlos Boozer (Provided by Utah Jazz,) Carlos Boozer (Provided by Utah Jazz,)

Either way, it seems likelier than not to occur sometime before the start of training camp in late September — because while the Jazz have suggested they're willing to open camp with Boozer on the roster, few if any around the NBA seem to believe them.

Millsap's match, after all, has the Jazz payroll currently at about $82 million — prompting most to suspect a cost-saving deal involving Boozer must come eventually if not right away.

That leaves Millsap, a 2006 second-round draft choice, seemingly destined to soon replace two-time NBA All-Star Boozer as the Jazz's starting power forward.

"Keeping Paul on our roster was one of our main goals this offseason," O'Connor said in the statement released Friday by the Jazz. "We look forward to watching him play a key role on this team for many years to come."

Friday's news release confirmed information that was leaked Thursday.

The deal is worth $32 million over four years, including $10.3 million payable before the end of the month. Millsap averaged 13.5 points and 8.6 rebounds in 76 games last season, and finished fourth in media voting for the league's Most Improved Player award.

The Louisiana Tech product's numbers improved in the 38 games he started last season, a stretch — mostly when Boozer was injured and out — in which he averaged 16.0 points and 10.3 boards.

e-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

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