Sources: Boozer could go to Chicago
By Marc Stein and Chad Ford
Another major multi-team trade might be looming in the NBA with the Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz and Chicago Bulls having discussed a deal that would be headlined by Carlos Boozer and Kirk Hinrich, according to NBA front-office sources.
Sources stressed to ESPN.com that no deal was imminent Thursday and that both Portland and Utah are still evaluating multiple trade scenarios. But two sources with knowledge of the three-team proposal confirmed that there have been substantive talks regarding a trade that would land Boozer in Chicago, Hinrich in Portland and Tyrus Thomas in Utah.
A deal featuring those main components would deliver the elite low-post scorer that the Bulls have been chasing for years in Boozer and furnish Portland with a lead guard in Hinrich that the Blazers are known to rate highly as a potential backcourt mate for Brandon Roy. It's possible that other players would be added to balance out the transaction from a salary-cap perspective if the three teams elect to take these talks further.
Yet even if this deal collapses, sources say it is clear that the Jazz are becoming increasingly open to the possibility of moving Boozer now to increase their financial flexibility to re-sign restricted free agent Paul Millsap.
Despite fresh reports Thursday about the Blazers weighing whether to sign Millsap to an offer sheet, Hinrich is the player Portland prefers, according to one source close to the process, after the Blazers came so close last week to landing the versatile Hedo Turkoglu.
Boozer has only one season left at $12.7 million after declining the option in his contract to become an unrestricted free agent July 1. It's believed that the Jazz are determined to keep Millsap but are concerned about the luxury-tax consequences of signing him to a long-term deal.