Jazz won’t give Boozer away

The Dallas Mavericks offered up an all-about-the-money trade for Carlos Boozer and were rejected, per Marc Stein.

Using Drew Gooden’s partially guaranteed contract and two players it wound up trading to the New Jersey Nets days later – Kris Humphries and Shawne Williams – Dallas could assemble a package of contracts high enough to reach the salary range of Boozer’s $12.3 million expiring contract to make the trade math work … but low enough to net an initial savings of $2.5 million for the Jazz.

The Jazz, though, have been telling teams for months that they won’t give Boozer away. A recent slump that dragged its record to 19-17 before Saturday’s thumping win over the Mavs in Dallas apparently hasn’t changed that stance.

As noted in this cyberspace when Eric Maynor and retirement-bound Matt Harpring were dealt to the Thunder in December — which sliced its luxury-tax bill this season from $12.6 million to a much more manageable $4.8 million — Utah set itself up to be a lot more choosy when such attempts to steal Boozer inevitably rolled in.

Since the summer we’ve heard repeatedly that the Jazz want at least one keeper in return in addition to payroll relief if they’re going to consent to a Boozer deal. And that was when their luxury-tax bill was going to approach $13 million.

I’m honestly a little surprised that a deal isn’t already done, but if these are the kinds of offers that the Jazz are getting, I don’t blame them for continuing to pass. Why give away a productive and healthy top 30 player to save $5 million in luxury tax? If the Jazz move Boozer before the trade deadline, it will serve a serious blow to their playoff hopes, and the team will lose the revenue generated from its postseason home games. Figure about $500K per game (after the NBA takes its cut) and the Jazz stand to earn $1 million from a minimum of two home games in the playoffs. Visiting teams also get a cut of the gate receipts, so they stand to make money on the road as well.

So while the luxury tax is a concern, it’s not the overriding factor for the Jazz. Like Stein said, they need a keeper out of the deal, and my guess is that at the trade deadline draws closer, they’ll get one.


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Jazz looking to shake things up

The Utah Jazz are willing to trade just about anyone on their roster, per Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports…

Concerned about a lackluster start that has left them in ninth place in the Western Conference and motivated not to pay a hefty luxury-tax bill for moderate success, the Utah Jazz appear willing to trade anyone on their roster but point guard Deron Williams, multiple league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Carlos Boozer, who is making $12.6 million in the final season of his contract, has attracted interest, but sources said the Jazz have yet to enter any substantive trade talks involving the forward. Jazz coach Jerry Sloan has told management he’d prefer to keep Boozer for the season to help with the team’s playoff push, but ownership wants to avoid paying as much luxury tax as possible.

Rival executives think the Jazz have been asking for too much for Boozer, and that most teams who trade for him would want assurances they have a good chance to re-sign him over the summer.

Utah’s payroll is pretty reasonable next season (~$58 million) so presumably they’re looking to trim salary this season. With a payroll of $77 million, the Jazz are going to have a tough time getting below the luxury tax threshold (~$70 million), but any money they can save will also reduce the tax they’ll have to pay.

The Jazz aren’t going to get equal value for Boozer for a couple of reasons: 1) the general consensus is that he’s leaving after the season, and 2) Chris Bosh looks more likely to leave Toronto, and Bosh is more coveted around the league due to his age and durability (i.e. teams like the Heat may elect to wait and see how the Bosh situation develops before exploring a deal for their Plan B). Look for the Jazz to execute a deal that cuts $1-$2 million in payroll and lands a decent young prospect or a first round pick.

Then again, Jerry Sloan would like to keep Boozer for a playoff push and he has more than a little pull in Salt Lake City.


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