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Utah Jazz: Heat GM is turned off by Boozer's sweet talk

Published: Thursday, Aug. 6 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

Upset Utah Jazz fans apparently aren't the only ones who felt uneasy with all the eye-batting and flirting that Carlos Boozer recently did in hopes of wooing Miami to trade for him.

Heat general manager Pat Riley was also a bit turned off by the public display of affection for Miami that Boozer showed shortly after opting into the final year of his contract with the Jazz.

"I wasn't really comfortable with it," the Heat general manager told the South Florida Sun Sentinel on Tuesday.

Though he later claimed on a Chicago radio station to be misquoted and misunderstood, Boozer was quoted last month as saying that playing in Miami, his offseason home, would be his first choice for the upcoming year. He made similar overtures this summer to playing for the Bulls.

"There are so many reasons I feel at home here, and I would love to be part of the Heat organization," Boozer told the Miami Herald in mid-July. "We first came here for the tax reasons and fell in love with it. We love the palm trees, the laid-back attitude, the sun, quality of life. It's like paradise here.

"I'm real close to some of the guys," he added. "Dwyane (Wade) and I started to get close at the Athens Olympics in 2004, and I'd love to play on this team."

Boozer also claimed that the luxury-tax-burdened Jazz would shop him around the league this summer and that he wasn't part of the franchise's future plans.

Some reports claimed the Jazz and Heat were on the verge of making a deal — a popular one alleged that Udonis Haslem would have been sent to Utah, with Dorell Wright going to Memphis in a three-team swap — but Riley told Miami media on Tuesday that that wasn't necessarily the case.

If so, that means the flirtations were one-sided.

"I really don't know what kind of agreement that he and Utah have," Riley said Tuesday. "We have had conversations about a number of things, but there hasn't been anything really, at all, nothing, about a trade for Carlos Boozer."

The agreement that the Jazz and Boozer have, for now at least, is a contract worth about $12.7 million for the 2009-10 season for the two-time All-Star.

Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor and the Utah front office have remained mum about a potential Boozer trade, which makes more sense after they re-signed power forward Paul Millsap to a four-year, $32 million deal last month. But it was clear that O'Connor didn't embrace the fact that Boozer was openly talking about his desire to play elsewhere.

"What I can say is if you're under contract, we're an organization that expects you to come and fulfill your contract and play hard," O'Connor said when asked about pro-Bulls comments Boozer had made in Chicago. "I'm not gonna get into a he-said, she-said kind of thing. But we expect any player that's under contract — especially one that decided to opt in — to come and compete."

The Heat GM says Miami's interest in acquiring Boozer might've changed and they might've looked to beef up their lineup even more had coveted big man Lamar Odom signed with them instead of re-signing with the Los Angeles Lakers.

"Then," Riley added, "I would have thought differently about some of the other moves, lateral moves for one year."

The Sun Sentinel also reported that Riley's focus is now on helping Michael Beasley improve his game. The name of the second overall pick of the 2008 draft also surfaced in Boozer-related trade rumors.

e-mail: jody@desnews.com

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