Carlos Boozer just agreed to a 5-year/$80 million contract with the Chicago Bulls, which could possibly bring them back into the LeBron sweepstakes. I wrote earlier today that it was hard to imagine LBJ leaving Cleveland to go to a team where he wasn’t assured to play with a big man, and now that no longer applies to Chi-Town. Will it make a difference? Has LeBron already made up his mind? Can this get him to change his mind? No one frickin’ knows.
Another possible question is whether LeBron has any lingering distaste for Booze. Remember, Booze player with a young LeBron and they were starting to form quite a tandem on the Cavs. In fact, Booze had played so well, that then-Cleveland owner Gordon Gund decided to do Carlos a solid by releasing him a year early from his rookie contract to give him a raise. However, once free, Booze re-negged and went after the biggest bucks he could get (which was in Utah). Did that piss off LeBron as much as it did all the Cleveland fans, or did he not care and considered it “just business”? Again, no one knows. Well, many people might know the answer to that one, but I ain’t one of ‘em.
Also, even if LeBron has no harsh feelings for Booze, does he think Carlos has what it takes to help him get to the next level? After all, it wasn’t like they set the NBA on fire the last time they played together (did the Cavs even make the playoffs back then? I’m feeling too lazy to look it up).
The other interesting thing is how quick the Boozer deal came together. Was it just because once Wade and Bosh announced they were going elsewhere, suddenly Chicago got panicky and wanted to grab the top guy left? Or are they hoping that this brings them back into the LeBron equation? If so, ya gotta figure that they did their homework and know that LeBron doesn’t hate Booze ‘cuz they wouldn’t want to risk ruining their still-alive chances for LeBron. Sorta like how the Knicks wanted to make before they signed Amar’e that LeBron wouldn’t consider that a negative.
Putting aside Chicago for a second, one other interesting bit of LeBron news came out today: on a live interview with ESPN (which you can find on their site — again, I’m being lazy and not searching for the link) BOTH Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh said they’d be willing to take less money to help Miami get better players. In other words, ignore my earlier comment today that the Heat’d never get LeBron since all three players would have to take a pay cut.
All of which goes to say that while I still think Cleveland’s got the upper hand, here’s my new order of most likelynessitude:
3. tie- New York & Chicago.
4. New Jersey (unlikely)