LAS VEGAS – Pat Riley has listened to Dwyane Wade(notes) express his unease with the Miami Heat sitting out the Eastern Conference's arms race this summer. As the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic elevated themselves as championship contenders, the Heat president sold his superstar on patience, promising a plan to surround him with talent for the long run.
Now, the Heat are working furiously to deliver Lamar Odom(notes) and Carlos Boozer(notes) to the shores of Biscayne Bay. The Heat are trying to sell Odom on a five-year, $34 million contract at the mid-level exception, and a league executive with knowledge of the talks says Miami has also hatched a three-way proposal with the Utah Jazz and Memphis Grizzlies to secure Boozer.
The essentials of a possible deal would include Miami sending forward Udonis Haslem(notes) and Dorell Wright to Utah. Because Memphis is under the cap, Utah could move Wright's $2.8 million salary to the Grizzlies and save itself approximately $5.6 million with salary and luxury-tax payments. Memphis would probably get cash and picks for its trouble. The Heat would have to send one more small contract to make the math on the salary exchange work.
Miami could pay Boozer his $12.7 million salary this season and own his Bird rights to sign him to an extension next summer.
The deal isn't considered imminent, but the Jazz are working hard to find a suitable trade for Boozer. Utah is determined to match the Portland Trail Blazers' $32 million offer sheet for restricted free agent Paul Millsap(notes). Utah has until the end of the week to match or lose the young power forward to the Blazers. Most league executives believe that Utah will match the offer, regardless of whether they've moved Boozer.
Portland is still trying to pry Tayshaun Prince(notes) out of Detroit in a three-way deal with Utah, but Pistons president Joe Dumars hasn't shown an inclination to move Prince and extend Boozer's contract, league sources say. Several league executives are dubious of Boozer as a $14 million-a-year player, which his agent, Rob Pelinka, has told teams it will take to sign him to an extension. Miami could be the suitor willing to pay it.
The Los Angeles Lakers' standoff with Odom is still fluid, but a source close to Odom insists he would probably only leave L.A. for Miami, not the Dallas Mavericks, who are also pursuing him. Odom's agent is trying to get a five-year, $45 million deal out of the Lakers, who have offered four years and $36 million.