Carlos Boozer looking toward Miami?
Superstars, can't live with 'em, can’t live without 'em.
Everything the Lakers went through with Kobe Bryant last season, the Utah Jazz is going through with Carlos Boozer.
Well, everything except public condemnation by one of the team's own players on the nation’s airwaves. But, aside from that, it's a serious situation for the up-and-coming Jazz.
For months, insiders have been saying Boozer was ready to opt out next summer and sign with Miami —which reportedly was one reason Heat President Pat Riley kept looking for someone other than Michael Beasley in the draft, allegedly knowing he had a power forward coming.
Of course, the Jazz can take comfort in the sure knowledge that if everyone says it, it's probably wrong or at least out of date.
The speculation — or the romance between Boozer and the Heat — was based on his wife's dislike of Salt Lake City, and the fact that Boozer's family moved to Miami because their 2-year-old son, Carmani, had sickle cell anemia and wasn’t comfortable in the nearly mile-high altitude.
However, Carmani has undergone a bone marrow transplant and been pronounced cured. The whole family is back living together in Salt Lake City.
Boozer isn't giving any hints about what he'll do, saying he won't discuss it or address it until July 1, 2009.
Of course, by then, it could also turn out that he's more valuable to the Jazz than the Heat.
If the talented Beasley can beat his knucklehead rep, he's capable of putting up numbers similar to Boozer's. If he does, why would Riley pay up for another power forward?
On the other hand, if Beasley struggles, it could be a long season in Miami, after which Dwyane Wade would be a year from free agency. How attractive would the Heat look then?
-- Mark Heisler
Photos: Top: Carlos Boozer waves after arriving in Opa-Lacka, Fla., on Aug. 25 after playing with the U.S. men's basketball team at the Beijing Olympics. Credit: J. Pat Carter / Associated Press Insert: Michael Beasley responds to questions during an interview after being selected by the Miami Heat in the first round of the NBA basketball draft on June 26 in New York. Credit: Frank Franklin II / Associated Press