View Full Version : Vescey- BOOZ, AGENT LOW LIFES

Will Galen
07-11-2004, 02:38 AM


July 11, 2004 -- WHO'S gonna believe SFX agent Rob Pelinka next time he says Kobe Bry ant is innocent?
Who's gonna believe Carlos Boozer next time he promises to do something?

Why should anyone take the word of these lowlifes again after the double-cross they pulled on the Cavaliers?

Why would an owner or an executive for any professional team ever think of doing a favor for Pelinka or consider cutting one of his clients a break?

Why would an upstanding franchise like the Jazz want to associate with someone so shamelessly untrustworthy as Boozer? Of all professional proprietors, why would Jerry Sloan align himself with such a fugitive of fidelity?

Roughly two weeks ago, Boozer stood in front of Gordon Gund and VP Jim Paxson and pledged his allegiance in return for the team not picking up next season's ($695,046) option. Told it'd be too big a risk to make him a restricted free agent because of all the teams with salary-cap room, Boozer insisted he wanted to remain a Cavalier. He vowed to repay the owner's respect with loyalty by taking the best deal ($41 million over six seasons) the capsized team could give him.

Within four days of being granted his wish, Boozer, accompanied by his wife, was in Paxson's office. He'd changed his mind. Said he wanted to be the man. Said he wanted more plays run for him. And since there was no longer a contract in place, he planned to see what was out there; the Jazz provided the financial windfall, $68M over six.

The bad news is, Boozer has yet to find another country that wants him to represent it in the Athens Olympics.

As we're well aware, it takes an unscrupulous so-and-so to negotiate for someone so discernibly disingenuous. Survey says the unethical committee of Boozer & Pelinka doesn't get any slimier.

"I haven't [seen] anything so contemptible in all my years in the league," an outraged eastern CEO declared, sentiments echoed by owners, coaches, players and agents throughout the league.

"All teams operate on a level of trust. The Cavs are the last team that'll take that chance. Everyone suffers from this, but none more than Pelinka and any client of his not fortunate enough to have great leverage. Nobody will ever trust him again. You watch, he'll be out of SFX within three months."

"You can blame the player all you want," said an L.A.-based business manager for several players. "But this situation is 100 percent the agent's baby. The agent is the one that filters interest, conveys demands and outlines the deal to the player. I could make a deal seem more attractive than another with a long-term emphasis, location, taxes, family, winning ability, etc. So it is the agent that burned a bridge and did not keep his word."

Which reminds me, if you're the Jazz, how confident can you really be that Boozer will honor his verbal commitment? Apparently that doesn't mean a helluva lot. What if the Hawks or Nuggets offer him more paper and guarantee him more designer plays between now and July 14, the first day free agents are allowed to sign?

The only sure thing, I suspect, is the Cavs want nothing more to do with Boozer unless they're able to match Utah's offer and trade his corrupt carcass for someone worthwhile. This is the thanks Gordon Gund gets for trying to do right by the Dukie.

"It's like being hit by friendly fire," a team official lamented.

07-11-2004, 02:49 AM
It's like in Bussiness , there is alot of cutthroat tactics , the guys who are wealthy didn't get there being honest or loyal. Not saying I agree with what happen , just that's a way alot of things go these days , boozer and of course his agent has the money eyes it profits them both greatly in the long run.

Another big reason I still wanna Reggie get a Ring , he has been Loyal and could have easily sold out for money or a easy ring .

07-11-2004, 02:52 AM
Yeah, well, it gets even slimier, especially when you consider what Paxson is going through right now...

Thankless job
Paxson, Cavaliers pay price for trying to do right by Boozer

Posted: Friday July 9, 2004 6:29PM; Updated: Friday July 9, 2004 7:02PM

Why would anybody want Jim Paxson's job?

While the full story has yet to be told, it appears that the emerging Carlos Boozer turned his back on a Cavaliers team intent on doing him a multimillion-dollar favor.

Paxson, the Cleveland Cavaliers' general manager, is being ripped for allowing forward Carlos Boozer to escape as a free agent to the Utah Jazz.

Boozer was a second-round pick by the Cavaliers in the 2002 NBA Draft. Despite being a three-year star at Duke, he was ignored in the first round because many NBA teams believed he was too unathletic and small at 6-foot-8 (which is his true height, though he is listed as 6-9) to excel at power forward. But Paxson saw Boozer's potential and signed him to a two-year guaranteed contract for $989,000 (more than the minimum salary awarded to most second-rounders) with a team option for the third year.

Boozer turned out to be a steal. He averaged 15.5 points and 11.4 rebounds last year and earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. But Boozer was apparently worried about his longterm financial future. That's why he asked the Cavaliers to cancel their option for next season and instead allow him to become a free agent. In that case, Boozer promised (according to sources -- and common sense) that he would then re-sign with the Cavaliers for as much as $41 million over six years, the maximum they could offer a free agent with fewer than three years experience under their salary-cap constraints.

Paxson held all the cards on this deal. He could have ignored Boozer's pleas and forced him to fulfill the team option at a salary of $695,000 in 2004-05. Next summer Boozer would have been a restricted free agent, giving the Cavs the right to pay him as much as they wished along with the ability to match any offer Boozer received.

Instead, Paxson and Cleveland owner Gordon Gund nullified their option. They gambled on Boozer's word and set him free. According to a source who was in the room at the time the verbal deal was struck, Boozer told Gund, "If you respect me by not picking up the option, I'll show trust and loyalty to you by signing with you."

But instead of keeping to his word, Boozer agreed this week to a six-year, $68 million contract with Utah. (I tried, through a variety of sources, to give Boozer's agent, Rob Pelinka an opportunity to respond, but I was unable to reach him.)

Cleveland cannot match the offer because the Cavaliers are over the salary cap. The only way Cleveland could retain Boozer would be to dump several players and create more than $10 million of cap space, because Pelinka negotiated an offer that is front-loaded to make it that much harder for Cleveland to match.

"This is the worst thing I've ever seen," a top NBA agent told me. A respected NBA team executive confirmed the opinion in a separate conversation.

"There is no honor in this," the agent said. "You don't shake a man's hand, get him to do something nice for you, and then turn around and screw him."

The executive echoed the sentiments. "That was so bad. [Boozer and his agent] convinced Cleveland to let them out, and then instead of saying thanks, they said, '(expletive) you.'"

Paxson is being taken to task in the press for allowing Boozer to escape, but the short-sighted duplicity of a basketball player is the least of his troubles. Paxson's wife, Candice, has spent the past year fighting central nervous system lymphoma, a rare form of brain cancer. This week Jim and Candice flew to Portland, Ore., for the funeral of Candice's daughter-in-law from a previous marriage, Tina Kosmos, who died of cancer.

Paxson was trying to console his wife and family in-between calls from Pelinka, who, according to a source, matter-of-factly explained how he was reneging on his agreement with the Cavaliers.

Speculation has held that LeBron James is angry with Paxson for losing Boozer.

Not true, says James' agent, Aaron Goodwin.

"LeBron gave his thumbs up (to the plan enabling Boozer to become a free agent) because he believed his friend just wanted to be taken care of," says Goodwin. "He thought it was great that the Cavs wanted to help him out." Goodwin says that James was "disheartened" when he realized that Boozer was exploiting his free agency by negotiating with other teams.

Goodwin adds -- and I've confirmed this with other sources -- that Gund took personal responsibility for approving the plan to make Boozer a free agent.

"My understanding is that Carlos, his wife and Pelinka all gave their words to Paxson and Gordon Gund that Boozer would re-sign with Cleveland," Goodwin says. "By letting him become a free agent, Gordon was saying, 'I'm doing this to help the Boozer family, not just Carlos.'

"Gordon Gund isn't stupid. He knew there was a chance Boozer would leave if he let him out of his $700,000 contract. But he was [telling] the kid 'I respect you and I care about you and your family.' For him to get slapped in the face is wrong; even as an agent I have to say it's wrong. I talk to Gordon and I hear the devastation in his voice because he's from the old school, where if someone says something to you, you take him at his word.

"What Rob Pelinka did," said Goodwin, "was he figured out a way to get his guy out of his contract. And he lied to do it."

One can spin this any number of ways, but here's how I see it. On the court Boozer appears to be a player of integrity because he plays and practices hard. But if I were Paxson, I'd be glad he was gone. His integrity has a price tag of $30 million -- money that Boozer could have made up over the long run by playing alongside James.

I'm sure Paxson has his share of enemies who will accuse him of being tough, and possibly unfair, in negotiations; most of the contracts in this league are conducted on the edge. Some people will also point out that the Cavaliers were trying to sign Boozer to a smaller contract than he could have negotiated next summer.

But Boozer and his agent made their choice. Instead of rewarding Paxson, they are punishing the GM for doing a good deed.

The Cavaliers will now try to fill their power forward vacancy by applying their $5 million free-agent salary exception to either Antonio McDyess, who is coming off three injury-ruined years, or Vin Baker (represented by Goodwin), who is looking for a one-year opportunity to raise his stock.

But those are short-term answers. Over the long haul, you have to wonder if Jim Paxson, given all that he and his wife have been through in the last year, will simply say life's too short to be involved in this dirty business.

Sports Illustrated senior writer Ian Thomsen covers the NBA beat for the magazine and is a regular contributor to SI.com.


Will Galen
07-11-2004, 03:01 AM
Good find Bulletproof! Thank you!

07-11-2004, 06:43 AM
For him to get slapped in the face is wrong; even as an agent I have to say it's wrong.


See? Agents agree that they're not very moral!

Roaming Gnome
07-11-2004, 12:54 PM
Wow, reading how Boozer "asked" to be let out of his contract totally changes how I feel about this whole deal. Before, I thought Carlos was just a restricted FA and assumed Carlos just got the best deal after making a half hearted promise to the Cavs.

Boy, was I wrong. Boozer officially goes on the "what a dick!" list!

07-11-2004, 12:57 PM
God, I feel so dirty agreeing with Vecsey. :shudder:

07-11-2004, 01:03 PM
Wow, reading how Boozer "asked" to be let out of his contract totally changes how I feel about this whole deal. Before, I thought Carlos was just a restricted FA and assumed Carlos just got the best deal after making a half hearted promise to the Cavs.

Boy, was I wrong. Boozer officially goes on the "what a dick!" list!

I would never wish anything bad on anyone who doesn't deserve it, but if there's any justice in this world, Boozer has a karmic bommerang headed his way.

07-11-2004, 01:20 PM
What's worse is he did it to a blind man.

07-11-2004, 07:58 PM
What's worse is he did it to a blind man.

Oh yeah I forgot he was blind. I thought i was missing out on some kind of joke...

07-11-2004, 11:02 PM
I've posted this a couple of times in regards to this subject.

As Tony Montana once said, "All I have in this world is my balls and my word and I don't break them for no one."

07-11-2004, 11:36 PM
That would appear to be some fine reporting there. No fluff, just the facts. Assuming it is al true

07-12-2004, 01:43 AM
If everything is as it is being reported I will say two things.

1. Carlos Boozer is a great basketball player. He will be an all-star for years to come. Probably.

2. Carlos Boozer is a bag of crap as a human being.

If after all is said & done & he did what is said he did, then I have no use for him whatsoever.

07-12-2004, 05:24 AM
Intresting article here :

Fans could forgive if Boozer returns


By Terry Pluto

Can Carlos Boozer come back and play for the Cavaliers, assuming they find a way to clear salary cap room and match the six-year, $68 million contract offer from the Utah Jazz?

Why not?

His teammates will welcome him back. They don't know who said what between Boozer and management, and they don't care. Players almost always side with players in these disputes.

And the fans?

Reader Walt Smith wrote, ``Once again, the Cavs look like the fools of the NBA. If they don't send Boozer on his way, they'll look like morons of the universe. They don't need to add to the mistakes they made in the past. This time, they need to tell Boozer to hit the road and don't look back. His credibility won't wash here anymore.''

Then who plays power forward? Tony Battie? DeSagana Diop?

They have no one.

Nor will their $5 million salary cap exception lead to a contract for a free agent the same caliber of Boozer, who is a rebounding fanatic with a nice medium-range jumper. It's hard to replace 15 points and 12 rebounds a game from a guy who has very few offensive plays set up for him to shoot.

Two power forwards looking for work are the troubled Vin Baker (alcohol and weight problems) and the oft-injured Antonio McDyess. Not exactly inspiring options.

What if Boozer comes back?

Most fans will initially react like reader Greg Kaufman, who wrote: ``All I can say about Boozer is BOOOOO!!!''

Reader Paul Wilson (of Tallmadge) wrote: ``It's sad for the fans who supported (Boozer) so willingly and emotionally. Not just because Booz played well, but because they believed Booz was just a little different. That he had what most sports celebrities and sports stars often lack -- integrity. The moral integrity to play hard, even though you think you are worth more than you are paid . . . It's sad for Carlos, because he is tarnished. He is diminished. He is corrupted.''

But sports is the ultimate bottom-line business, and most sports fans just want to win.

As Vinny Testaverde once said, ``I throw a couple of interceptions and get booed. Some guy gets out of jail for rape or drugs, and he gets a standing ovation.''

If Boozer plays well, the players won't care.

If Boozer plays well, most fans will eventually forgive.

If Boozer plays well and the Cavaliers win big, most fans will cheer.

Reader Paul Warner (of Cuyahoga Falls) wrote: ``I'm having a hard time focusing on anything other than a broken heart. That's how I feel about Boozer betraying the fans and the Cavs . . . Shame on him.''

Some Cavaliers fans were upset in 1991 when John ``Hot Rod'' Williams signed a huge offer sheet from Miami and then proclaimed, ``I'm a Heat now!''

Two weeks later, the Cavaliers matched it. They tried to trade him to the Seattle SuperSonics for Xavier McDaniel and Nate McMillan, but Williams had the right to veto the trade -- and he did.

Many fans didn't like it.

But Williams stayed and remained a productive player. Within a few years, most fans forgot about the contract and cheered for Hot Rod.

It would not be a shock if the same thing happened with Boozer.

Cavs tried to do what's best

What should the Cavaliers have done with Boozer?

The obvious answer now is play hardball and pick up the $695,000 option for this season. Then none of this would have happened, and the only unhappy party would be Boozer.

But the Cavaliers really did try to reward Boozer. Yes, they were out to save some money perhaps in the long run. But six years at $41 million is not ``chump change,'' as Boozer characterized his $600,000 salary last season.

I'm convinced the Cavaliers were honorable in their actions, and that they were sure they had an oral agreement. They are not idiots. They know better than to put Boozer on the open market.

But there is no proof of this.

The Cavaliers' only statements since the Utah offer point to the remarks made by Boozer and his agent on July 1 to Tom Withers of the Associated Press:

``I want to be in Cleveland,'' Boozer said. ``I like it here. My wife and I are very, very happy here, and I want to be with the Cavs. Good things are happening. Now it's up to my agent and the Cavs to work things out. I hope they will.''

Boozer added he was thankful ``for everything the Cavs have done for me.''

July 1 was the first day that a free agent could enter into an oral agreement with a team. Boozer did not say they had a deal with the Cavaliers.

His agent, Rob Pelinka, said, ``I'm confident (general manager Jim Paxson) and I will continue to have conversations and we'll work something out.''

Once again, no mention of a done deal.

It's obvious the Boozer camp was keeping its options open in these public statements, even if stronger things had been said privately. Did the agent outsmart the Cavaliers? Did he hint at a deal to be soon agreed upon, then take the six-year offer and shop to see if any team would top it? That seems to be possible.

The Cavaliers' problem is no oral agreement could be made before July 1, according to NBA rules. They had to pick up the option by July 1. So the Boozer camp can say, ``No matter what you think we did or didn't say -- none of it matters. It all was before July 1, and no deals can be made.''

More thoughts:

The Cavaliers could not pick up his $695,000 option for next season, then talk about an extension during the year. He could not receive a new contract until after next season.

Boozer considered himself highly underpaid by NBA standards. He averaged 15 points and nearly 12 rebounds. He did not want to be paid only the $695,000 option. If the Cavaliers had done that, they would have had a very unhappy player.

But Boozer would be playing for a new contract at the end of next season. Unhappy or not, he would still have tremendous motivation to play well. He also would have been a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers could have matched any offered he received -- just as they can now with the Utah offer.

Under the current rules, the most the Cavaliers could have offered right now was a six-year, $41 million deal -- and they could do it only if they declined the option for this season. The Cavaliers say not picking up the option was the only way to get Boozer far more money and security right now, which is what he wanted.

Yes, a $41 million package after Boozer had played another season would have been a bargain for the Cavaliers if he continued to play at his current level. But he also would have received $5 million this year, rather than $695,000. Boozer wanted the big money now for obvious reasons -- he could get hurt at any time. If he ripped up his knee during the season, his market value would have declined as a free agent in 2005.

Next year, the Cavaliers could have offered him anything -- they could even go over the salary cap. He would qualify for the ``Larry Bird Exemption'' in 2005, but not in 2004. The Larry Bird Exemption is why teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks have outrageous payrolls, well over the cap.

The Cavaliers can match the six-year, $68 million offer from Utah. He will sign it July 14, and the Cavaliers have 15 days to clear cap room and match. Depending upon how much Boozer is getting in the first year -- it's rumored to be at least $10 million -- the Cavaliers might have to move at least $8 million in salaries. It won't be easy, but it can be done.

Reader Chris Bommer wrote that Paxson and owner Gordon Gund both ``need to go.'' Well, Gund is the owner, so unless you plan to buy the team, he's not going anywhere. It's believed Gund approved this strategy, so do you fire Paxson? It's hard to imagine Paxson doing this on his own without ownership's backing.


It's big-league time

for Buffalo outfielder

It's time for the Indians to bring up Grady Sizemore and put him in center field.

He went into the weekend hitting .297 at Triple-A Buffalo, but that doesn't indicate how he's been playing of late. He batted .344 in June. He has 20 doubles, 8 triples, 6 home runs and 12 steals.

Here's perhaps the most remarkable statistic: The left-handed batter is hitting .296 vs. lefties, .297 vs. righties.

Last year at Double-A Akron, it was .305 vs. righties, .304 vs. lefties.

At 21, Sizemore doesn't seem especially intimidated by any type of pitching. The Indians need to do with Sizemore what they did with Victor Martinez a year ago -- give him a good dose of big-league pitching to set him up for next season.

Let's face it, the Indians don't have much outfield depth.

Coco Crisp went into Saturday night in an 0-for-16 slump. He's batting only .218 in July, .255 on the season. He can take over the fourth outfielder role, which is now held by Mark Little.

Right fielder Jody Gerut also is struggling, hitting .258 with 7 home runs and 33 RBI heading into Saturday. Since June 1, he's batting only .226 in 134 at-bats. The Tribe can easily rotate Matt Lawton, Gerut, Crisp and Sizemore between the three outfield spots.


Denney deserves

some time in rotation

I'd like to see Kyle Denney get a shot in the starting rotation, along with Kaz Tadano. Denney does not have overpowering stuff, but he's 7-1 with a 3.42 earned-run average at Buffalo. His minor-league record is now 43-25. He'll turn 27 on July 27, so it's time to see what he can do.

Jason Davis was only 3-11 in his last 29 starts. The Indians think he needs to regain his confidence at Triple-A Buffalo. Opposing batters were hitting .322 against him, highest of any American League starter. When Davis feels anxiety, he tends to ``overthrow,'' which means rush his delivery. That causes control problems.

Reader Bob Maistros (Arlington, Va.) wonders why Russell Branyan (.264, 20 home runs, 66 RBI) has not been promoted from Buffalo. He still strikes out once every three at-bats. Branyan is 28 years old. He's had 1,104 big-league at-bats with 449 strikeouts, 70 home runs and a .227 average. I sense him becoming the next Jeff Manto, who had a strong career in Triple A but never could cut it for long in the majors.

More interesting is Eric Crozier (.295, 18 home runs, 44 RBI), who batted .324 with eight home runs in June for Buffalo and started July at 11-of-22 with three home runs. He'll be 26 next month. He's a left-hander who plays first, and if nothing else, gives the Indians depth for trades. He had several injuries last year at Double-A Akron, where he batted only .245 with 18 home runs. He had been one of the most pleasant surprises in the farm system. If Crozier batted right-handed, he could be promoted soon -- but the Indians are loaded with left-handed hitting first basemen in Ben Broussard and Travis Hafner.