If the Jazz can get their entire roster healthy and on the floor at the same time, they’re arguably as good as any team in the League. But as of late, it looks like that window is quickly closing. For weeks we’ve been hearing about Carlos Boozer‘s relationship with Heat owner Mickey Arison and Booz’s plans to opt out of his contract after this season for bigger money and sandier beaches in Miami.
Though Utah’s brass desperately wants to maintain their nucleus of Deron Williams and Boozer, the reality is that someone will have to go. If you crunch the numbers, it’s tough to figure out a way that they’ll be able to hold onto Boozer ($12 million player option after ’08-09), Mehmet Okur ($9 million player option after ’08-09), Deron Williams (unrestricted free agent), and Ronnie Brewer (team option just under $3 million).
The biggest issue to keeping everyone together actually might not be Boozer’s desire to play on South Beach. It’s that Andrei Kirilenko is owed almost $50 million over the next three years, taking up a serious chunk of the cap space that the Jazz would need to keep the aforementioned guys. With AK-47 putting up 11 and 5 per game like he did last season, he definitely isn’t producing the value that he’s getting paid. That’s got to be a cause for some serious frustration among Utah’s management.
And actually, there might be a solution. Rumors are floating around that Kirilenko has drawn interest from CSKA Moscow. If the team that’s been trying to pry Ben Gordon from the Bulls could take Kirilenko from the Jazz, it might hurt the squad this season. But it might be a blessing for them when they try to maintain this nucleus down the road.
CSKA wants to offer Kirilenko a contract to rival that of other NBA stars and what seems to be the appeal in this case for CSKA is that Kirilenko, doesn’t occupy the position of non-russian player, which allows CSKA to keep him in the roster at all times.
Source: The Hoop