So Carlos Boozer is coming back.
Whoop-de-do and hold the confetti.
Boozer announced Tuesday that he will "opt in."
As any Jazz fan has known for months, Boozer had the option to leave the Jazz and chase bigger money or return to the Jazz for the final year of his paltry $12.6 million contract.
So he's back, and not because he wants to be here.
He's back because the economy stinks.
He's back because no other NBA team wants him at that price or anything close to it.
He's back for a lot of reasons, but not because he wants to win or because he wants to wear a Jazz uniform.
The guy who said last December "no matter what, I'm going to get a pay raise," didn't get a raise.
It was a big day for the Jazz — one that has been tracked like a tropical storm for more than a year — with so much hanging on one decision. Boozer's decision, it turns out, has created more problems than it has solved.
For Jazz fans — and, one suspects, Jazz officials, as well — Boozer's return is not exactly reason to celebrate, although the latter are saying all the right things.
As recently as April Boozer said he was leaving the Jazz. As early as last December, in the midst of another lengthy injury-enforced sabbatical, he vowed to opt out."
Now what does he say? That he's glad to be here? That it WASN'T ABOUT THE MONEY?
At one time or another it was reported that there was mutual interest between Boozer and the Pistons, Raptors, Grizzlies and Nets — who all had big losing seasons last year. For the Jazz, it was a slap in the face. Boozer was willing to dump a winning team in favor of a loser just so he could make another mil or two, or thought he could. There were no takers even from the NBA's desperate.
During the first four years of his five-year $70 million contract with the Jazz, Boozer has missed 134 games with various injuries, or the equivalent of more than 11/2 seasons. Apparently, he felt he owed nothing to help the Jazz recoup some of their investment.
And now he's back. He'll serve a lame-duck season and be gone, provided the Jazz don't trade him first — if they can find a buyer.
This should be fun.
Talk about an awkward reunion. He doesn't want to be here — and the Jazz don't want him here, no matter what they might say publicly. Just don't wait for them to offer him a new contract.
But what are they going to do? How are they going to trade a guy who comes with a $12 million contract, misses every third game and plays defense like a matador?
Secretly, the Jazz had to be hoping Boozer would opt out and leave town. His return creates many headaches. With Boozer's contract on the books, they face the daunting task of already being over the luxury tax, for the first time in franchise history, and still needing to re-sign Paul Milsap.
Then there's this: Milsap has earned more minutes, and he could get them elsewhere, if not here now that Boozer has opted to stay.
There are not many upsides to Boozer's return.
He has worn out his welcome with fans, if not the Jazz, with his attitude, unreliability and spotty play. And how does a team get behind a player who so obviously doesn't want to be here, his statements to the contrary notwithstanding.
Well, if nothing else, the situation will force Boozer to try to bring his best game to the court next season, so he can demonstrate to other teams that he is worth signing or trading for. Meanwhile, Boozer and the Jazz are stuck with each other.
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