LAS VEGAS — Much musing has been made recently about the Miami Heat making a possible move for Utah Jazz power forward Carlos Boozer if the latter were to opt out of the final year of his contract after the 2008-09 NBA season.

At Saturday's mini-camp debut of the 2008 U.S. Olympic men's basketball team in Las Vegas, Boozer wasn't in a talking mood about last week's rumblings involving the Heat, but Jazz/USA teammate Deron Williams was a willing contributor to conversations.

After next season, Boozer can opt out of the final year of his current six-year, $68 million contract with the Jazz and negotiate a potential six-year deal worth an estimated to $136 million.

"He's 26 years old, why wouldn't he?" asked Williams.

Going into Thursday's NBA Draft, there was talk that the Heat might not use its No. 2 pick to select Kansas State's Michael Beasley, a talented big man with some well-publicized off-court issues. Some media types wondered if Miami might try to woo the likes of Boozer, should he opt out early.

Asked if he might be headed to Miami in the future, Boozer responded teasingly: "I live in Miami — I'm going there no matter what I do, that's home for me. That's just talk — I've been talked about in rumors my whole career."

The Heat ended up taking Beasley with its second-overall pick, but the Miami questions continue to tail Boozer.

He declined when asked if he might have any interest, saying his current worry is the Olympic team and playing for the gold medal. Instead, Boozer offered his three-fold theory on why the Miami rumors have enjoyed an extended shelf life.

"It might be because they have a need for a power forward," he said, "that I live in the area, and that you guys (the media) keep writing about it."

Meanwhile, Williams was doing enough thinking and worrying about Boozer for the both of them.

"I definitely want him to hang around," he said. "I definitely want him to re-sign. But it's a business move ... he's doing what's best for him."

Williams called Boozer's anticipated opting out "a no-brainer" but added that he hopes he stays with the Jazz.

"He's definitely a big part of our organization, a cornerstone of our team," said the Jazz point guard. "I definitely want him back with me — he knows that and I've expressed that."

And Williams admits to be a little worried about the prospects of a Boozer-less Jazz team. "You never know what's going to happen, you never know who's going to throw money, so you've got just to hope that he likes it here, that he likes it with me enough to stick around."

And yet, Williams — who himself is ready to negotiate a contract extension with the Jazz — understands the prospects of Boozer doubling the fortunes of his current contact.

"It's great to be him," he said.


E-mail: taylor@desnews.com