模板:MedalTop 模板:MedalSport 模板:MedalBronze 模板:MedalBottom Carlos Austin Boozer, Jr. (born November 20, 1981 in Juneau, Alaska) currently plays professional basketball for the Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Boozer was a two-time Parade All-American in High School, leading the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears to back-to-back state titles. He then followed the so-called "Alaskan basketball pipeline" to Durham, North Carolina where he played collegiately for Duke University, helping the team win the 2001 NCAA basketball tournament.
Boozer declared for the 2002 NBA Draft, relinquishing his final year of NCAA eligibility. He was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the NBA draft. After an impressive sophomore season, he signed with the Utah Jazz in 2004 as a restricted free agent for roughly six years and a total of $68 million USD. The move would prove to be highly controversial.
Free agency controversy編輯
Reported deal with Cleveland編輯
After the 2003-04 NBA season, in which Boozer averaged 15.5 points and 11.4 rebounds per game, the Cavaliers had the option of allowing him to become a restricted free agent, or keeping him under contract for one more year at a $695,000 salary, which was clearly much lower than he would earn on the free agent market. If the Cavaliers chose that latter option, Boozer would have been able to enter the free agent market unrestricted after that one year expired. Boozer's high level of play meant that he very likely had in his future a substantial pay raise and the security of a long-term contract; the question, depending on what the Cavaliers chose to do, was just whether those benefits would come immediately, or after one more year.
Reportedly, the Cavaliers reached what they felt was a verbal "understanding" with Boozer. They would forgo their right to keep him for an extra year at relatively low pay, and instead allow him to become a restricted free agent. In exchange, he was expected to sign a long-term agreement with the Cavaliers, and not to sign an offer from any other team, despite the fact that he would certainly receive offers for more money than what Cleveland could afford in the new contract. The fact that Cleveland was over the salary cap meant that both sides understood the parameters of the new contract with Cleveland would be approximately $40 million over six years.
The deal appeared to be advantageous for both parties. Boozer would immediately get a substantial raise to over $6 million per year and the financial security of having a long-term guaranteed contract, versus playing the entire next season for only $695,000 and lacking any future security in the event of a career-threatening injury during that season. Meanwhile, Cleveland would assure itself of keeping his services for at least five more years under a deal which would be below market value and friendly to their salary cap considerations with respect to the remainder of their roster, rather than risk losing him on the free agent market after his original contract was completed the next season.
Offer from Utah編輯
Once Boozer became a restricted free agent, he received an offer from the Utah Jazz. The Jazz had played the free agent market in previous years and had failed in attempts to sign Corey Maggette, Jason Terry, and Elton Brand. Thus they were determined to succeed with Boozer and they offered him the maximum contract allowable under the salary cap.
As predicted, the offer from the Jazz provided a salary that the Cavaliers could not afford to match. Additionally, a move to Utah would give Boozer the opportunity to be a more integral player on that team than he would be with the Cavaliers, whose top two players were already established as being LeBron James and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. With these factors in mind, Boozer chose to sign with the Jazz, and the Cavaliers were forced to let him go.
Agreement? Understanding? Commitment?編輯
For his part, Boozer has acknowledged that his original intent with regard to free agency was to remain with the Cavaliers. But he has steadfastly denied that he made any explicit verbal promise to the team to do so:
There was no commitment, it's unfortunate how it went through the media but I'm really excited to be in the situation I'm in. . . . It's against the rules, first of all, to have [a pre-arranged agreement]. I'm not a guy that gives my word and then takes it away, I think I made that clear.
- —Carlos Boozer
As Boozer's comment indicated, an explicit contract agreement would not be permissible under the NBA's collective bargaining rules, and would be punishible by the league if it were discovered. Despite this fact, it is still believed to be common practice among NBA teams and players to make such agreements secretly.
The Cavaliers claimed that what occurred was legal because they had not reached an agreement on a contract, but rather had reached an "understanding" that each side would trust the other's intentions if Boozer were granted free agency. However, the team also claimed that each side knew what all of the parameters of such an understanding would be with regard to Boozer's next contract, when it would be signed, and what its terms would be. Therefore, this distinction between the claimed understanding and an illegal contract agreement would have been an extremely subtle one.
The NBA has never issued a judgment with regard to whether such a distinction would in fact make the claimed understanding legal. However, past precedent would seem to cast doubt on the Cavaliers' claim in this regard. Alonzo Mourning of the Miami Heat was given a verbal agreement or understanding when he became a free agent in 1996, while the team pursued Juwan Howard, whom they signed. The Heat insisted that they had not agreed to terms with Mourning before signing Howard, but the league penalized the team by voiding Howard's contract. In 2000, the league also harshly punished the Minnesota Timberwolves over an illegal contract with Joe Smith. Using such cases as a guide, many observers doubt that an NBA investigation would have found the supposed understanding between Boozer and the Cavaliers to be legal.
Nonetheless, absent some sort of commitment from Boozer, there would seem to be no explanation for the Cavaliers' actions in allowing him restricted free agency in the first place. Furthermore, SFX Management, the agency which had been responsible for representing Boozer, immediately dropped him as a client and declined to accept the $2 million fee owed to the firm as a result of Boozer's contract with the Jazz. The firm did not publicly elaborate on its reasons for doing so, but to many, it seemed to be an indicator that SFX felt it needed to dissociate itself from Boozer's actions in order to protect its own reputation for trustworthiness. Such actions would not seem to be necessary if there never had been any commitment to the Cavaliers from Boozer. Consequently, Boozer's denials have done little to change the widespread perception that he did make some sort of commitment to the Cavaliers—even if it was illegal to have done so—and then failed to honor that commitment.
The team's management blamed Boozer and indirectly, the Jazz organization, for what had happened. Insisting that their "understanding" with Boozer had been clearly discussed and understood by all parties involved—including mention of the fact that Boozer would be receiving more lucrative offers than the Cavaliers could match—the team claimed that Boozer had violated their trust. Team officials presented that as a primary cause of their being unable to shape the team into a legitimate contender during the off-season.
In the final analysis, I decided to trust Carlos and show him the respect he asked for. He did not show that trust and respect in return.
- —Gordon Gund, then principal owner of the Cavaliers, in a letter to Cleveland fans
As a result, Boozer suffered a spate of criticism and negative reaction in the sports media around the country. Cleveland's fans in particular reacted with shock and outrage over the loss of Boozer and he has become reviled among them for his perceived act of betrayal.
However, Boozer does maintain supporters, as well. They note Boozer's adamant claim that he did not make a commitment to sign with the Cavaliers. They also note that even if there was a commitment, it was quite possibly illegal under NBA contract rules. Had the NBA investigated the situation and determined that there was an illegal agreement, the league might have voided any subsequent contract Boozer had signed with the Cavaliers, thus forcing Boozer to play the next season under his old contract—at low pay and with no long-term security.
Finally, Boozer's supporters point out that there was a difference of nearly $30 million between the Cavaliers' offer to Boozer and the contract he signed with the Jazz, a substantial sum for Boozer to be expected to sacrifice. They argue that in professional sports, including in the NBA, teams often make verbal promises to athletes (e.g. the team will not trade the athlete) that are subsequently broken when the team deems it in its best interest to do so. Supporters of Boozer claim that he has received much more criticism for allegedly breaking a promise to a team than teams are subjected to when they break a promise to a player.
Career with Utah編輯
In his first season with the Jazz (2004-05), Boozer averaged 17 points and 9 rebounds, showing promise and the ability to be the go-to guy, while learning a new system. However, he suffered an injury, missing the latter part of the season, which contributed to the Jazz missing the playoffs for only the second time in 22 years, and he was publicly criticized for a lack of effort by team owner Larry Miller.
As the 2005-06 NBA season began, Boozer was still recovering from injury, and then aggravated a hamstring, causing him to miss the first half of that season as well. He returned to action in late February, easing into action by coming off the bench for the Jazz. In the middle of March, he was placed back into the starting lineup. From that point, he finished the season in impressive fashion, averaging over 20 points and almost 10 rebounds per game. Looking ahead to the 2006-07 season, Boozer seems to have firmly established himself as the Jazz' starting power forward once again.
Boozer wore #4 for Juneau-Douglas, continued with #4 at Duke, took #1 with the Cavaliers, and currently wears #5 for the Jazz.
Lawsuit against Prince編輯
In January of 2006, Boozer initiated legal proceedings against music star Prince. The dispute involved a Los Angeles home owned by Boozer through his corporate entity, C Booz Multifamily I LLC, and being leased by Prince. In the lawsuit, Boozer's corporation alleged that Prince had had several unauthorized alterations performed on both the exterior and interior of the house. Attorneys for Prince denied the allegations and noted that the December and January rent payments for the property had been accepted "without objection".
The two sides apparently reached a subsequent agreement, as Boozer's corporation asked in February that the suit be dismissed. The dismissal was granted "without prejudice", meaning that it can be reinstated later if Boozer has further complaints.