July 08, 2004

Boozer to the Jazz.: 6 years, $68 Million. Initially the Cavs had a 6 year $40 Million dollar deal set in a verbal agreement. Which is now, apparently, null and void.
more inside...

posted by lilnemo to basketball at 04:55 PM - 29 comments

First off, how anyone could turn down to chance to play with arguably the best player in the game is beyond me. Playing with Lebron is a once in a lifetime oppurtunity. I thought they made a good pair. Guess Cleveland may never know. In spite of the above statement, I'm happy for the Jazz. I like what they've put together. They will be the team that I root for as I watch the Lakers from afar :(. Anyways, look at the prospective lineup: C-Okur PF-Boozer SF-Kirilenko SG-Giricek PG-Arroyo In reserve: C-Ostertag(?)/Moore(?)/Borchardt(?) PF-Humphries SF-Harpring SG-Bell PG-Lopez/Williams I saw this team play the Cripples last year and they were impressive. This may be one of the more impressive collections of international talent in the league. I look forward to seeing how Coach Sloan makes this work. Go Jazz!

posted by lilnemo at 05:08 PM on July 08, 2004

And the West gets stronger and stronger at the East's expense. I couldn't believe the amount of money they offered Mehmet, though. He's not exactly proven as yet. This is going to be an interesting season. I'd love to see Raja Bell give Giricek a run for the starting spot.

posted by Ufez Jones at 05:14 PM on July 08, 2004

Sucks for the Cavs, but it's funny how $28 million will make you back out of a verbal agreement...

posted by dusted at 06:01 PM on July 08, 2004

Okur, Boozer (15.5 points and 11.7 rebounds a game last year) and star forward Andrei Kirilenko will give the Jazz one of the Western Conference's most potent young frontcourts. This made be giggle. Talk about hyperbole. Look, I love Boozer but is locking up Okur at 8M/per and Boozer at 11M/per really that good of an idea? That's 19M of a 45M cap right there. AK47 comes off his rookie contract next year and is going to command top dollars. Assume he'll command more than Boozer and the Jazz are looking at 32M+ of their cap on those three guys. Is that a championship team? I like Boozer but not that much.

posted by Mike McD at 06:10 PM on July 08, 2004

I'd love to see Raja Bell give Giricek a run for the starting spot. I think Sloan would too. Bell is a better defender, athelete, and floor-leader. I'm not sure, but I think that when Giricek came over in the trade, he mostly started while Bell played in crunch time. If Bell proves himself to be a more consistent perimeter threat I believe that he will start.

posted by lilnemo at 07:03 PM on July 08, 2004

...Western Conference's most potent young frontcourts. This made be giggle. Talk about hyperbole. It must be the chest hair. Assume he'll command more than Boozer and the Jazz are looking at 32M+ of their cap on those three guys. Is that a championship team? Admittedly, at face-value/on paper, no it is not. But it very well could be a playoff team. I think this is just one of the realities of the NBA. Common GM wisdom (not that I agree with it) seems to dictate that if you don't have a Shaq, Duncan, KG, TMac, or Kobe then you are not guaranteed, or likely to make the Finals ( much less the playoffs). Hopefully more team-oriented franchise models like Detroit, Utah, and Memphis will convince GMs to seek out the "pieces" rather than the "stars". And hopefully that will help drive down contracts.

posted by lilnemo at 07:14 PM on July 08, 2004

I still can't believe Okur got a $50 million contract. He hasn't done anything to warrant that kind of money. Even Turkoglu's $39 million seems excessive. lilnemo, even though teams are going after guys that are definitely more "pieces" than "stars," contracts are still going up.

posted by dusted at 07:30 PM on July 08, 2004

Big guys with any ability at all are making out big this off season. Case in point: Adonal Foyle.

posted by filthyboy at 07:39 PM on July 08, 2004

Wow, reading this article, it looks like Boozer totally screwed the Cavs: On July 1, GM Jim Paxson made Carlos Boozer a restricted free agent by not picking up his team option (set to pay him roughly $900,000) for next year. No, this is not a misprint. But it was such shocking news that it caused a misprint among many media sources who initially reported the opposite-that Boozerís team option had been picked up. Instead of the predicted, the Cavs have rolled the dice by allowing the Olympian and future all-star to enter a free agent market which already seems bent toward overspending (did you happen to see the contract that Adonal Foyle got?). But itís not that big a gamble because they can match any offer, right? Wrong. Because Booze has only been playing for the Cavs for two years, they do not own his "Bird rights" and are therefore not permitted to go over the salary cap to re-sign him. With the Cavs currently being only a few million under the cap, they can only offer him a contract starting at the mid-level exception of about 5.5 million/year (for more on this salary cap mumbo-jumbo see the free agency primer†I previously posted for Hoopsworld). There are seven teams with sufficient cap room to offer Boozer a lot more than that and even upwards of $8 or $9 million a year. If these teams signed Booze to an offer sheet, the Cavs would be powerless to match unless they could clear cap space (by unloading contracts). So why does nobody seem all that worried? And why are more teams pursuing Mehmet Okur than Carlos Boozer? The widely held opinion is that the Cavs let Boozer out of the final year of his paltry contract (by NBA standards) with a handshake agreement that he will re-sign on July 14 (the first day free agent signings can begin) and not listen to other offers. Letís hope that was one firm handshake (with no fingers crossed) because Boozeís Dukie honor and integrity could be tested by the millions more other teams can offer him. But the accepted opinion is that Boozer will reward the Cavs for letting him join the millionaires club a year early and take less from the Cavs in what will probably be a two or three-year deal with player options. These options will allow Boozer to opt of the contract in one or two years because, if he continues at his current performance level, he will still be getting underpaid with a mid-level exception contract. So really there is no reason to worry UNLESS Boozer (at his agentís urging) breaks the handshake and goes hunting for dollars from other teams. Then, Paxsonís decision to not pick up the team option will go down as one of the stupidest management moves in the history of the NBA.

posted by dusted at 07:44 PM on July 08, 2004

What MAY work is that Boozer is the anti-Okur. Boozer will do the hard, dirty rebounding, putback play, while Okur can shoot the three and occasionally slash inside. Okur is big and played well against Shaq in spots, but generally suffers the Euro problem - not big on fighting under the basket. And hey, I think Harpring will be challenging for a spot, too. When he went down he was the team's leading scorer. Granted Kirilenko cannot be put on the bench... But maybe Utah can be the Western Detroit.

posted by BobbyC at 08:14 PM on July 08, 2004

I was sort of surprised by this too, and it does sound... at best unpleasant if he really did welch on a verbal agreement with the Cavs. [Not to mention the chance to play with Lebron.] But it was really, really dumb of the Cavs to think that he'd turn down 70% more money in a much better place to live (virtually every place in the NBA is a better place to live than Cleveland). That'd be hard for anyone to pass up.

posted by tieguy at 08:24 PM on July 08, 2004

Geez, business as usual for the Cavs. Just when it seemed that they finally lucked into something good (a solid front-court and the possibility of a quick backcourt), they fould things up in the front office. Boozer was really loved here. (virtually every place in the NBA is a better place to live than Cleveland) Really? Out of curiosity, how many years have you lived in Cleveland, and how did it compare with your residencies in the other 29 NBA cities?

posted by avogadro at 10:39 PM on July 08, 2004

I'm with avogadro. Cleveland is much better than Salt Lake City.

posted by Mike McD at 11:26 PM on July 08, 2004

Several of my best friends are Ohioans; I'm taking their word for it. SLC does have certain, uh, 'social' issues, but otherwise it is a gorgeous, clean, friendly city with decent levels of culture and lots of incredibly beautiful nature within an hour's drive. And a 30 minute flight to Vegas, if that's your thing.

posted by tieguy at 06:46 AM on July 09, 2004

it looks like Boozer totally screwed the Cavs. I have to agree with dusted and tieguy. $28 million is a lot of money to give up. Cavs admittedly took a chance (rolled the dice). I am sure they thought that no one else would offer Boozer 70% more money. It turns out someone did. Bad move. I wonder if Boozer will struggle in the West as a hardworking undersized PF.

posted by jacknose at 08:11 AM on July 09, 2004

Does anyone think that the Kings sort of set up this model by picking up Brad Miller last year? Wasn't that the first big money gamble to a top player from the East, (but perceived second tier player in the West), that worked out? I have very little doubt that any conversation between Boozer and LBJ would have LBJ encouraging to Boozer to get all he can as the general player attitude is to let the owners give it to you. As much as I detested the Lakers signing of Malone and Payton, at least it wasn't for the money. To see someone call out the Duke-integrity is awesome. It seem that those guys are all portrayed as Duke Scouts of America.

posted by geekyguy at 12:04 PM on July 09, 2004

I really disagree that Boozer is screwing the Cavs. The Cavs were letting Boozer hit free agency with the idea that they'd offer him the mid-level exception. Boozer is 22, and in a couple more years will be much, much better than a mid-level exception player. The Cavs were looking out for themselves here just as much as Boozer was.

posted by chmurray at 02:03 PM on July 09, 2004

The Cavs were looking out for themselves here just as much as Boozer was. Good point. If only ESPN considered this before launching another one of those annoying "sportsnation" polls. Heh, polls.

posted by lilnemo at 03:57 PM on July 09, 2004

Boozer completely screwed the Cavs. What he did to the team, when they made the unbelievable step of completely freeing him so he could sign a big deal with them a year early, will go down as one of the most dishonest things a pro athlete has ever done in contract negotiations. Normally, the screwjob goes in the other direction. But here's hoping Boozer gets a little karmic retribution. His agent ought to begin seeing the consequences fairly quickly. I can't imagine any other NBA team will ever work with him again. People who dog Cleveland as an unliveable place have clearly never been there. It's not the mistake by the lake any more. I went there for a friend's wedding, and the festivities included a reception at Jacobs Field and a bachelor party at the Flats. I was expecting sad urban blight right out of American Splendor, but it's a nice town.

posted by rcade at 12:08 AM on July 10, 2004

Spoke too soon. Boozer's agent, Rob Pelinka, represents Kobe Bryant, Corey Maggette, Chris Kaman, Elton Brand and presumably many others. Figures.

posted by rcade at 12:34 AM on July 10, 2004

Normally, the screwjob goes in the other direction. Does this mean it's okay if done by an owner? I think the Cavs' management were fols not to pick up the cheap option and then renegotiate a long term deal--at least that happens in the other major league US sports, not as familiar with NBA practice. Seriously, Boozer and the team were playing under the same set of rules and Boozer won, 'nuff said.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:45 AM on July 10, 2004

It's not OK either way. Cleveland would never have let that $695,000 third-year option pass without Boozer's word he would sign a long-term deal. In retrospect, they were fools for trusting the guy, and in the long run they're probably better off without him around (just as the Mavs are better off without Steve Nash, now that he's playing the whine card). But I wouldn't say that Boozer played by the rules by lying his way out from under a contract.

posted by rcade at 01:16 PM on July 10, 2004

What's up with people trashing Nash? He isn't whining, he's stating fact. Mark Cuban is the one whining about how the deal went down.

posted by dusted at 01:18 PM on July 10, 2004

Cavs management were fools to believe a player would leave over $20 million on the table out of loyalty when owners never do.

posted by billsaysthis at 06:44 PM on July 10, 2004

I didn't have a problem with Nash until this article. He wants to have the best of both worlds -- taking money over friendship and loyalty by leaving Dallas, then dogging Mark Cuban for not showing him friendship and loyalty. There's nothing wrong with Nash taking that ridiculous offer from the Suns. He'd be crazy to turn it down. But to come back with this hurt-feelings stuff is ridiculous. In three years, we'll all see why Cuban couldn't match that offer, because Nash doesn't have the health to live up to Jason Kidd money. Cuban had to explain his side of the deal to Mavs fans. Nash was the team's most popular player, fans were outraged, and Cuban has the well-earned rep of communicating with fans.

posted by rcade at 10:48 PM on July 10, 2004

I wrote about this earlier, but the article you linked makes me feel even stronger that Cuban is playing the victim card (that mean Bill Duffy, only looking out for his client!) and that Dallas fans are eating it up.

posted by dusted at 11:15 AM on July 11, 2004

Maybe Carlos needs the money.

posted by yerfatma at 06:09 AM on July 12, 2004

It seems to me, from being here for a few days, that Dallas fans are siding with Nash. There's a lot of justified complaining about letting your cornerstone player go without getting anything in return. I didn't read Cuban's weblog entry as a poor-me sob. He just laid the situation, and his thinking, out in full detail. He said in the entry that Nash should have taken the money.

posted by rcade at 08:08 AM on July 12, 2004

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