Former Cleveland Cavaliers forward Carlos Boozer revealed a reason for his departure from the Cavs to the Utah Jazz on a Tuesday episode of the Dan Le Batard Show, WKYC Digital Producer Ben Axelrod wrote in a Friday article.
“The reality of it was I was a second-round pick, so I had a two-year contract with an option for a third year and they had discussed taking my option away so they could re-sign me,” Carlos Boozer said. “The only bad thing about that was it would be tampering and (the Cavs) were going to be under investigation. So when we went through the process, they took away my option, they wanted to give me a new contract.
“The league knows everything. So when they took away my third-year option, they were going to offer me a deal around $40 million. But the league was also getting indication that there was four other teams that were offering me $70 [million] plus. So if I would have re-signed, they would have immediately known it was tampering.”
He compared his situation to former NBA forward Joe Smith, who spent limited time with the Cavaliers after he was included in a trade that sent him and center Ben Wallace to Cleveland from the Chicago Bulls. Smith had signed two short-term deals with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1998 and 1999, taking one-year deals for small amounts of money so the Timberwolves could acquire his Bird rights, which would allow them to go over the salary cap to re-sign him, according to now-Rose Garden Reports reporter Sean Highkin.
Smith attempted to sign a third one-year deal in 2000. An NBA investigation was put in place, ending with a $3.5 million fine for Minnesota and the forfeiture of its first-round draft picks for the next five years.
Carlos Boozer spent two seasons in Cleveland after being drafted in the 2002 NBA draft. He scored 32 points and grabbed 20 rebounds against the Seattle Supersonics in 2004, becoming the only Cavs player to post a 30-point and 20-rebound game until center Andre Drummond in 2021.