CLEVELAND -- Carlos Boozer smiled easily before his first
game back in Cleveland. He was ready for whatever Cavaliers fans
had to dish out.
"With every 10 fans that miss me there are probably 10 or more
that wish they could shoot me," he said.
Boozer played at Cleveland on Saturday night for the first time
since he bolted nearly three years ago for more money in Utah.
Fans booed Boozer during his introduction and a derisive chant
broke out in the opening seconds. There were more boos when he
scored, rebounded and even when he inbounded the ball.
One fan wearing Boozer's old Cavaliers jersey held a sign that
read: "This was my best shirt now it's my car rag."
The way Boozer left town has become part of the local sports
Boozer was due to make $695,000 in the option year of his
contract. The Cavaliers declined to exercise the option -- making
him a restricted free agent -- in the belief he would accept a
six-year deal worth about $38.6 million to remain in Cleveland.
Boozer signed a six-year, $68 million offer sheet from the Utah
Jazz. The Cavaliers refused to match the offer, saying they had an
agreement with Boozer that if they declined his option, he would
remain with the team.
Boozer reiterated again Saturday that there was no such
"That was illegal. We didn't have that," he said.
Fans probably will never believe him.
"Thanks for being honest. Liar. Liar," read one fan's sign.
Unlike the fans, Boozer, an All-Star who is having his best
season, has no ill will toward Cleveland.
"It went down how it went down. That's the past. Both teams
have moved on and done very well," he said.