Cavs out after 'understanding' falls apart

Updated: July 11, 2004, 10:14 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

So much for verbal understandings.

Carlos Boozer and the Utah Jazz have agreed on a six-year, $68 million offer sheet.

Blame Carlos Boozer all you want for breaking his verbal agreement, but Insider's Chad Ford points out that Cavs GM Jim Paxson gambled he could lock Boozer up long term on the cheap and lost, big-time.
  • Ford: Bam-Boozered
  • It is a crushing blow to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who made Boozer an unrestricted free agent with the belief he would re-sign with them for their mid-level exception.

    "We've reached an agreement for an offer sheet to be delivered on July 14. He has agreed," Jazz GM Kevin O'Connor told The Associated Press.

    Earlier Thursday, ESPN Insider Chad Ford reported that the Jazz had canceled a planned visit by the Nets' Kenyon Martin because they were preparing to make Boozer the offer to which he has now agreed.

    "We just decided in was in both of our interest to go in a different direction," O'Connor told Ford about the Martin cancellation.

    The huge offer, coming after Boozer drew interest from half a dozen teams once he hit the free-agent market, proves the Cavaliers made a mistake in relinquishing their contractual rights to Boozer for the upcoming season.

    "Our actions have been based upon what Carlos told us he wanted," the Cavaliers said in a statement by owner Gordon Gund and general manager Jim Paxson.

    The statement said the Cavaliers' approach with Boozer was entirely consistent with his public statements in an interview July 1 with The Associated Press.

    "We are both very surprised and very disappointed by what is now being reported," the statement said.

    Messages left with Boozer and agent Rob Pelinka were not immediately returned Thursday.

    Boozer, recently named to the U.S. Olympic team, could have been Cleveland's next season for $695,000, but the Cavaliers did not pick up their option after, the club said, Boozer had committed to re-signing for the team's full mid-level exception -- somewhere around six years and $40 million.

    Now Cleveland almost certainly cannot retain Boozer. While the Cavs have the right to match the Utah offer, they are only about $4 million under the current cap and would have to trade and/or renounce the rights to a number of players to clear enough room to sign Boozer.

    According to sources, the Jazz began serious negotiations with Boozer around July 4 and finished the deal Wednesday night, capping a huge offseason for Utah.

    Earlier this week, the Jazz agreed to terms on an offer sheet with Pistons restricted free-agent center Mehmet Okur for six years and $50 million. Okur, Boozer (15.5 points and 11.7 rebounds a game last year) and star forward Andrei Kirilenko will give the Jazz one of the Western Conference's most potent young frontcourts. The Jazz have also re-signed both of their starting guards from last season, Carlos Arroyo and Gordan Giricek. And Utah selected promising guard Kirk Snyder and forward Kris Humphries in the first round of the NBA draft last month.

    With the Jazz out of the Martin sweepstakes, the Nets forward moves on to a visit with the Hawks Friday after Wednesday's meeting with the Nuggets. A source in Denver claims that the team has not made Martin an offer.

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