Boozer So Close, Yet So Far Away

Don't get too excited, Heat fans -- It's not a done deal

Carlos Boozer says he and the Jazz have "mutually agreed" to part ways -- and that it would be "a beautiful thing" if he ended up where he already spends his offseasons: Miami.

''My wife and I first came here for tax reasons, and fell in love with it,'' Booz told the Miami Herald about maintaining a residency in the city. "Love the palm trees, the laid-back attitude, the sun, quality of life. It's like paradise here, and I would love to be part of the Heat. They're a very good team, and I'm real close to some of the guys. Dwyane and I started to get close at the Athens Olympics in 2004, and I'd love to play on his team. Plus, I already live here. I'm just waiting to see what happens.''

It's thrilling, because a healthy Boozer -- which he claims to be, after missing at least 30% of the past five seasons -- would be a giant boon to the Heat.

But is it likely?  The Heat want him, for sure.  But it's one thing for Boozer to say Miami is his first choice, and it's another to nail down a contract when Chicago, Detroit, and New York are reportedly in the mix.  (Whatever you do, don't even get Cleveland fans started on the value of Boozer's words.)

That's not the only obstacle. Jazz manager Kevin O'Conner, who'd like to unload his star power forward so that Utah can retain Paul Millsap, hinted that while Boozer may be traded, it may not be anytime soon -- and he just might head to camp a Jazz man.  That's because if Utah can't unload Booz to a team with cap space, the move doesn't necessarily help them all that much; saving just $3 or $4 million isn't worth depleating the roster. 

"What I can say is if you're under contract, we're an organization that expects you come and fulfill your contract and play hard," O'Conner said. "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."

And then there's the question of whether or not Miami can unload several salaries in order to afford Boozer; the plan Pat Riley reportedly proposed involved three Heat players and one ensuing trade to a third team.

So for now, it's all talk. Nice talk, pretty talk, even -- but talk nonetheless.

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