By Ross Siler- The Salt Lake Tribune
A month from today, Carlos Boozer will wake up with the uncertainty
over for himself and the Jazz. Maybe he will be in Oakland, Calif.,
where the Jazz on Feb. 19 will play the Golden State Warriors in the
third stop of a four-game trip.
Maybe Boozer will be in Chicago or Miami, the two teams to which he expressed his desire to be traded last summer. Maybe Boozer will be in Dallas or Detroit, two teams to which he already has been linked in trade talk this season.
As the Jazz prepare to open the second half of their season, beginning with Wednesday’s game against the Spurs, they do so facing a month of unpredictability in regard to Boozer ahead of the Feb. 18 trade deadline.
Asked after Sunday’s loss in Denver if he thought he was more likely staying in Utah than heading elsewhere, Boozer only could voice what he would do in the position of Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor and chief executive Greg Miller.
"If I was them, I wouldn’t make a trade," Boozer said. "But I’m not them. I think, I mean, you keep this group together. We’re getting healthy, guys are getting better, we’re rolling, we’ve won four out of our last five, which is great.
"Hopefully, we’re going to win another four out of our next five. We can be good. We can beat anybody on any given night. That’s what I would do. But Kevin, Greg, they’ve got to make their decisions."
With the Jazz owning a 23-18 record and only a victory off last season’s pace at the 41-game mark, Boozer made one of his strongest statements since returning to Utah following an acrimonious summer in which he and the organization were at odds.
"That’s why I would keep us together," Boozer said in reference to the Jazz’s record. "In this business, it comes down to financial stuff, and I don’t know what their situation is. But if it’s about just winning, maybe that should be the deciding factor."
Although they could opt to trade Boozer, the Jazz just as easily could opt to keep him through the season. Afterward, the Jazz could look to re-sign Boozer as a free agent this summer or try to facilitate a sign-and-trade deal with him.
However, with $56.7 million already committed to seven players for 2010-11, the Jazz have to be careful to avoid pushing their payroll into luxury-tax territory for a second consecutive season.