Friday, July 9, 2010
Boozer reunited with Paxson
CHICAGO -- As Cleveland's sports universe struggles with yet another disappointment in the wake of LeBron James spurning the Cavaliers for the Miami Heat, a Friday news conference in Chicago serves as a reminder of another former Cavs star who got away.
Carlos Boozer doesn't have near the stature of James, but his departure from the Cavaliers on July 11, 2004 isn't an anniversary Cleveland plans to celebrate, either.
Former Cavaliers owner Gordon Gund and former general manager Jim Paxson thought they had an agreement with Boozer to release him from his contract, so he could re-sign with the Cavs at 10 times his previous salary.
But Boozer, who denied making such an agreement, ended up signing with the Utah Jazz.
Boozer will be introduced Friday as the newest member of the Chicago Bulls, and it's with no small degree of irony that he'll be reunited with Paxson, now a Bulls consultant. Jim's brother, John, is the team's vice president of basketball operations.
But Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf told ESPNChicago.com's Melissa Isaacson that there are no hard feelings.
"We actually had discussed a trade for Carlos over the last couple of years," Reinsdorf said. "We discussed it with Jim, and he said, 'Go get him.' He had no hard feelings at all. Nothing bad to say. It wasn't an issue.
"The funny thing is, he never said anything bad about Carlos. He really shrugged it off. Look, he was 23 then, you don't know how much was the agent, but if Jim didn't feel bad, there was no reason for us to. The best thing was [Boozer] told us in no uncertain terms that we were his first choice."