Leading up to this summer’s free agency, we’d heard two conflicting rumors. (1) Carlos Boozer was going to Detroit or Miami. (2) The piss poor economy would cause some top-tier players to opt-in on the final year of their contracts instead of exploring the open market.
With Boozer, the economy won out.
Utah Jazz forward Carlos Boozer announced on Tuesday that he is exercising his player option for 2009-10. Boozer will make $12.657 million this season and join the famed 2010 class a free agent next summer.
“We are excited that Carlos has decided to remain with the Jazz,” said Utah Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor. “We are hopeful he can continue to play at an All-Star level and will have an injury-free season.”
O’Connor couldn’t be a bigger liar right now. He’s probably so pissed. By opting in, Boozer really hurts the Jazz’s ability to match the astronomical offers reportedly coming Paul Millsap‘s way. Would they match the 5-year, $65 million offer the Thunder are considering for Millsap to be a backup this year? Probably not…
But they might have to do exactly that, and get killed by the luxury tax because Boozer could easily pack his bags and head to Miami in a more competitive free agent market after the ’09-10 season concludes.
Either way, Boozer is going to be supremely motivated to play some of the best ball of his career during this contract year. If he’s on the All-Star track, watch some contenders try to make a play for him in a mid-season trade. That might be Utah’s best bet.
Hypothetically the Heat and the Pistons are drooling over the possibility of adding him to their roster by the middle of next year. Instead of gambling that he signs with another team during free agency, the Heat offer up Michael Beasley, Daequan Cook, and something else for Boozer, while the Pistons propose Tayshaun Prince, Arron Afflalo and a pick.
Utah has to make the most of this situation. They could dig deep into their pockets to hold onto Millsap, or they could cross their fingers and hope everything works out in the trade market next year.
Source: Real GM