When it comes to Carlos Boozer, fans of the Utah Jazz shouldn't be surprised. Goodness knows, fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers sure aren't.
In case you missed it, Boozer told ESPN he will opt out of his contract at the end of the season, play the field and "get a raise regardless." And considering Boozer has been injured and was talking to ESPN in street clothes, the timing wasn't exactly impeccable. Far from it.
Here is what Boozer told ESPN:
"I'm opting out. No matter what, I'm going to get a raise regardless. I am going to opt out, I don't see why I wouldn't, I think it's a very good business decision for me and my family, but I'd also like to see what happens with the Jazz and stay here."
Boozer should be applauded for being honest -- and then repeatedly rebuked for the very same thing. Seriously. Come on, Carlos. You got a lot of nerve, man.
Your teammates are busting their tails, trying to stay afloat while you lounge around in a suit ... and all you can do is talk business?
It really makes you wonder, would signing Boozer to a large long-term contract really be worth it? I mean, doesn't it seem to you like he suffers from a severe case of chronic dissatisfaction? No matter where Boozer is, he seems to be wishing he were someplace else.
And Cavs fans have to be laughing. They don't really have any right to be angry with the Jazz -- but they are anyway. And every time Boozer does something that could be perceived as a slip-up, they flood the message boards and pound out words like "karma" and acronyms like "LOL!" to express their glee.
In Cleveland, they no longer say Boozer's name, they spit it.
But at least no one in Utah will be able to accuse Boozer of the type of behind-the-back bargaining for which he is vilified in Cleveland. But serve as a distraction to the entire organization? Well, that's a different matter, and one that doesn't seem to matter to Boozer.
Basically, Boozer's timing was awful. He's injured, the Jazz have been average after a strong start, and the season just reached the quarter point. You want to opt out after the season? Great. Wait until after the season to talk about it.
But you get the sense that for Boozer, it's never about the season. At least, not as much as it is about HIM. Perhaps that's why LeBron James didn't exactly break down when Boozer said goodbye to the Cavs. Some reports even suggested Boozer left Cleveland because he wanted to go someplace where he could be The Man. After hearing Boozer's comments to ESPN, that theory is even easier to believe.
What makes all of this worse is the current state of the American economy -- something Boozer obviously never considered when he talked about it being "a good business decision for me and my family." I mean, we're talking millions here, right?
Too many pro athletes like Boozer don't understand that everyday people don't want to hear about their need to take care of their families on a salary of more than $11.5 million per year (which is what Boozer is making this season). Especially now.
Something else to consider:
Boozer's replacement at power forward, Paul Millsap, has put up numbers similar to Boozer while starting in his place. During the previous five games (entering Friday), Millsap has averaged 19.2 points on a remarkable 59 percent shooting, and grabbed 11.6 rebounds per game. And Millsap just happens to be the lowest-paid player on the team at $797,581.
So while Boozer's success clearly has something to do with his own play, it also must have something to do with Coach Jerry Sloan's system. Heck, maybe Boozer should backup Millsap when he returns.
OK, maybe that's going a little overboard. But Boozer isn't as valuable as he seems to think he is, and Millsap is proof.
If I ran the Jazz, I would say goodbye to Boozer right now. I would trade him to Oklahoma City for forward Joe Smith (a Sloan-type hustler, great all-around guy and team leader) and point guard Earl Watson (another veteran who would make a nice backup for the Jazz's true star, Deron Williams). I checked and the salaries match.
Then the Jazz wouldn't have to worry about losing Boozer at the end of the season -- because if they consider the precedent he set with the Cavs, they should indeed be concerned.
Mostly, Boozer always seems to be talking about what's best for Boozer. Perhaps the Jazz should use this opportunity to benefit themselves, and teach him a little something about appreciating your team.
Or they could shake his hand and tell him they aren't going to trade him to the hapless Thunder, and then do it anyway the next day.
Hey, they could always say they were just doing what's best for their families. Surely Boozer would understand.
Sam Amico is the editor of Pro Basketball news a frequent contributor to SportsTime Ohio and The Cleveland Fan. He can be reached at email@example.com.