Utah Jazz: Carlos Boozer, Power Forward (2004-10)
Carlos Boozer was never supposed to wind up a member of the Utah Jazz. A former second-round pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers, he surprisingly averaged a double-double in just his second pro season before facing a team option that offseason.
In a handshake agreement with former general manager Jim Paxson, Cleveland would decline his option, where then Boozer would accept a six-year, $41 million contract. The informal deal was then broken once Utah stepped in and put an extra $27 million on the table. Soon enough, he was headed to Salt Lake City.
As a member of the Jazz, Boozer would continue his development into a nightly terror both in the post and on the boards. He also mixed in a consistent mid-range jumper that complimented his inside game.
Once Deron Williams arrived via the draft in 2005, he and Boozer would begin to form an elite one-two threat and pick-and-roll combo. In their first playoff appearance in 2006-07, they made a surprise run all the way to the Western Conference Finals, where the power forward stole the show in averaging 23.5 points and 12.2 rebounds per game.
Utah would go on to qualify for three more postseasons before Boozer would leave as a free agent in the summer of 2010. In his time with the team, he averaged 19.3 points and 10.5 rebounds a game and made back-to-back NBA All-Star Games.
Say what you will about the ethics regarding his decision to renege a decision he’d supposedly made with the team that first saw something in him. With the stats, accomplishments and even the money in hand, it’s hard to argue with the results, one the Jazz certainly have no problem playing a hand in.