First, welcome to Mike McCann who is guest posting at the Sports Law Blog. Mike has a post discussing the Carlos Boozer affair (see two posts below), and links to a story in today’s Cleveland Plain Dealer. The story has some telling quotes from Boozer:
“I called [the Cavs] and told them what was out there and the situation that was presented to me in Utah,” Boozer said. “They told me ‘You can’t do this, you gave me your word.’ I told them that I didn’t give them my word. The only organization I gave my word to was Utah. I called [Utah GM] Kevin O’Connor and I told him that I accepted their offer and that’s the only word I gave during this process. I plan to sign the offer sheet tomorrow.”
…The Cavs, apparently, have not given up. According to league sources, the team offered Boozer on Monday a one-year deal for $5 million. If Boozer accepts the offer, he would become a restricted free agent next season. Boozer doesn’t believe the Cavs’ sincerity.
“Why would they try to sign me?” Boozer said. “They’ve tried to demoralize me as a human being. They tried to depict me as a kind of guy that bamboozled people. They’ve lied and painted a picture that we had an illegal deal. They tried to say we had an oral agreement before July 1, and that didn’t happen.”
The bottom line is that the Cavs had nothing to gain by not exercising their option on Boozer, unless doing so enabled them to sign him to a long term deal. Boozer’s argument is essentially this: the Cavs were so dumb that they threw away their rights to the best young power forward in this summer’s free agent market. An option worth $10 million in economic rent. Ohhhkay, Carlos.
Earlier in the story Boozer is quoted as saying “I never shook hands with the idea that I was going to sign.” That’s an interesting qualifier. Regardless, it appears that he gave Cavalier management the idea that he was going to sign, whatever was going on in his mind. Boozer’s current offensive merely adds to the case for the prosecution. He should shut up before he digs himself in any deeper.
Now, my analysis could be wrong, particularly as I’ve never waded through the entire NBA collective bargaining agreement. If so, I would appreciate any corrections by those more knowledgeable than me.