The fear around here seems to be that Booze will jump ship after the season, leaving and netting the Jazz nothing in return. And to lose a key player in such fashion could hurt the team. But maybe, just maybe, it would be best if the Jazz just let Booze walk after the season. (Please, hear me out… I’m kind of confident that I’m not totally insane.)
Think about it. Trading him would require bringing back players that have contracts (because all players have contracts)… and contracts coming close to Boozer’s current contract value. This would lessen the cap space available after the season, because it’s highly unlikely that you trade Booze for expiring contracts (unless you’re trying to pull off a Gasol deal, in which case the fans would probably jump all over KOC & crew).
Letting him leave obviously has it’s disadvantages… like, oh, I don’t know… the loss of a top PF in the league (offensively) without getting any players in return. But by letting him walk, you open up more cap space after the season… space that will be needed to resign Okur & Korver & ‘Sap & Price, especially if LHM is serious about not going over the salary cap.
Think about it… Booze getting traded requires bringing in players in return… the Jazz have no roster spots open. Trading Booze in a straight up one-for-one doesn’t make sense… plus you’re not going to get much because other teams will be vary of him leaving as well. Say you somehow trade for a couple players and fit them all in… you just cause a bigger mess at whatever positions. You’re probably going to get either a 3 or a 4 (depending on how J-Slow views AK)… a 4 just leaves AK in the wrong position, a 3 just keeps the over-saturation that we have there, stealing minutes from CJ/Almond & even Brewer (if last year’s 24 mpg near the end of the season mean anything). Or say you add a defensive-minded 5 in the trade as well… that’ll just add to the quartet we already have (even if half of them might not be NBA-“ready” right now). And again, roster space.
If he leaves, sure you suffer a bit offensively (at least at first). Maybe. Move AK over to the 4. Resign Okur & Korver, they can both start. Or you can start CJ at the 3, and keep Korver as the guy off of the bench (a role that might suit his game better). Deron & Brewer start at the guards. Price is resigned to back up Deron, Almond can back up Ronnie (provided he has improved from his shooting-only showing at the RMR this year). Harpring will probably still be here. ‘Sap can back-up AK; hopefully Fesenko &/or Koufos can become the back-up to Okur. If the team is still lacking in inside presence (which it will be unless one of the guys develops a serious inside game in 1 years time), there will be FAs (as a back-up for Okur maybe?) and a 2nd round pick (the first round pick will probably go to Minnesota via Philadelphia… it is top-22 protected).
Obviously, losing a talent like Booze will hurt (look at Cleveland… they still haven’t recovered and tried to fill the void by trading for Ben Wallace). But the Jazz have the talent to overcome the loss (provided the team doesn’t try to keep AK at the 3 and bring in some random guy to start at the 4).
Now, do you have to trade Booze if you get an amazing offer? Yes, most definitely. But if it doesn’t come, maybe it’s better to let him walk than trying to deal him for an offer that might not be as good as you’d like.
Just my $0.02 though.