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News » Carlos Boozer is expected to opt out of Utah Jazz contract

Carlos Boozer is expected to opt out of Utah Jazz contract

Carlos Boozer is expected to opt out of Utah Jazz contract
The Jazz's season might have come to an end in the first round of the playoffs against Kobe Bryant and Co., but Carlos Boozer was back at Staples Center on Sunday to watch Game 7 of the Lakers-Rockets series alongside agent Rob Pelinka.

No decisions have been made, but all indications are that Boozer will opt out of the final year of his contract with the Jazz and become a free agent, with Boozer and Pelinka possibly waiting until the June 30 deadline to officially do so.

Boozer would be opting out of $12.7 million he is set to make in 2009-10, but is said to want the security of a long-term deal. He also is believed to have received assurances from Jazz CEO Greg Miller that the team wants him back in Utah.

The Jazz have operated on the assumption that Boozer will opt out, because of his December comments stating as much. Jazz General Manager Kevin O'Connor declined to comment on what assurances the franchise had given Boozer.

Should he opt out, Boozer first would turn around and look to re-sign with the Jazz . Gilbert Arenas did the same last summer in Washington, opting out to become a free agent and then re-signing with the Wizards for six years and $111 million.

As turbulent as Boozer's time in Utah has been, the belief is the Jazz will refuse to let go of a two-time All-Star and franchise cornerstone in Boozer, who voiced his desire to return after the Jazz were eliminated from the playoffs.

Despite their early exit against the Lakers, the perception is that the Jazz remain a young team on the rise, making it more important to keep Boozer, instead of aging with a roster in need of reconstruction.

Even amid a recession, Boozer would be banking on interest from other teams as arguably the headliner of a 2009 free-agent class that will include Allen Iverson, Shawn Marion, Lamar Odom and Ron Artest.

Although there are a handful of teams with the salary-cap space to sign him outright -- Detroit, Memphis and Oklahoma City -- Boozer could draw interest from other teams in sign-and-trade possibilities with the Jazz .

There are conflicting accounts in NBA circles as to Detroit's interest in Boozer, but the Pistons are expected to spend this summer. Memphis and Oklahoma City also might be more inclined to do so after coming out winners in Tuesday's draft lottery.

As bad as the economy was this winter, it was noted that Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia still signed nine-figure contracts with the Yankees. The NBA might be in for a similar summer as their baseball counterparts, but Boozer still is expected to command interest.

He missed 44 games last season with an injured left knee that ultimately required surgery, but Boozer is said to be healthy and working out in Miami.

Boozer wouldn't be the first player to sign a mega-money contract amid injury concerns, with Amare Stoudemire, Nene and Arenas having done so. He might have boosted his stock in the playoffs, averaging 20.6 points and 13.2 rebounds.

The worst-case scenario would be what happened with Arenas, who underwent knee surgery and played in only two games for Washington last season after signing his new contract, while making $14.7 million.

Boozer is expected to gather information through the draft and into late June before making his decision official. Corey Maggette, another player represented by Pelinka, waited until June 30 to opt out with the L.A. Clippers last year.

Mehmet Okur's opt-out decision, meanwhile, likely will depend on how he views the 2010 free-agent summer.

Not only could the NBA's salary-cap and luxury-tax numbers continue to decline with the economy, Okur might be in less demand in a class that could include LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and a host of perennial All-Stars.

Although there are some around the league who believe the Jazz will look to trade Andrei Kirilenko this summer, Kirilenko is said to be happy in Utah, where he has settled into life with his wife and sons and is looking forward to returning to the Jazz .

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: May 21, 2009


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