I live in Utah and am not surprised to learn that we, as a state, are near the tops in the nation when it comes to the number of prescriptions for antidepressants. I am also an NBA fan, and more to the point, a fan of the Utah Jazz. As the draft nears, I think of the steals the Jazz have had in the draft, with the likes of Karl Malone and John Stockton coming in the middle of the first round. I think of Andrei Kirilenko at the 24th pick and given a redo in the 1999 draft would likely have gone above Jonathan Bender, Trajan Langdon, Alek Redojevic, William Avery, Dion Glover, Cal Bowdler, and everybodies favorite poster, Frederick Weis, putting him in the mid-first round, at a minimum. The Jazz have made some draft day steals in the second round also, with Shandon Anderson, Bryon Russell, and most recently, Paul Millsap.
What I would like to remind Jazz fans, and other NBA fans as a matter of fact, is that the draft is a crap shoot. I listen to local sports radio and for the past three days, pharmaceutical representatives have learned that there needs to be even more antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills in the homes of Utahns, at the very least, more in the home of Jazz fans.
The Utah Jazz own the 23rd pick, which generally comes with the notion that you cannot find an impact player. Granted, you're not likely to land Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and the like, but you can find an impact player at 23. In the past 10 years, there have been about 370 players taken. Many of those picks were long-shots at best to make an NBA roster, which found most teams fishing overseas. But should a team really need to fill holes in the roster, there are still gems to be found. In fact, in the past 10 years there have been 9 players to make all-star teams drafted 23rd or later. Those players are Rashard Lewis, Gilbert Arenas, Andrei Kirilenko, Mehmet Okur, Carlos Boozer, Michael Redd, Tony Parker, Josh Howard, and the coup-de-gras, Manu Ginobili. There were 61 players during that time that were part of the regular rotation and contributors to there teams in the NBA. So 61 is my count, but you get an idea. That is also not counting those players that maintained a career of more than a season or who still have contracts in this league. The point remains the same.
To go along with the overanxious, need a Ritalin, Jazz fans concerned about the draft, add to that the Jazz fans' concern about Carlos Boozer. Carlos Boozer has two years left on his contract, with the option to opt-out at the end of next year. Add to that, the fact that Miami isn't sold on Michael Beesley, for whatever reason, and the Jazz fans are worried Boozer might bolt for South Beach at the end of the season. Many Jazz fans speculate that Miami isn't sold on Beesley because, as the Miami Herald reports, they are confident they can land Carlos Boozer or Elton Brand or even Chris Bosh (in two years) on the free agent market. I propose a different view. Why can't Miami be sold on Michael Beesley based on his measurements. Beesley was a beast in college, but he was originally listed at 6'10". Come to find out he's been playing in platforms for the last year, as his measurement is really 6'7". I would think the ability to play in 3" heels and still dominate would actually increase his value? At 6'7" in this league, you would normally be listed as a SG or SF, and Beesley's skill set doesn't mesh with the typical NBA 2/3 positions. Beesley is no Charles Barkley and may find it difficult to play PF in the NBA. Could that be the reason Miami has soured?
Jazz fans freak out about this by reading way too much into the situation. Jazz fans bombard local radio shows with concern that Boozer, who owns a house in Miami, is ready to bolt. Again, CALM DOWN! Boozer also owns a house in Utah, and another in Southern California. Boozer is doing what most people do with money to burn, he invests that money. He did attend Duke, after all. He buys houses because he has 2-3 months off every year, and real estate happens to be a good investment. Boozer also spent time in Miami due to the health problems of his child, which seem to be going well. In fact, things went well enough that his family moved back to Utah mid-season.
There are three major reasons, with one minor reason, Carlos Boozer won't leave Utah.
First, there is a collective bargaining agreement in the NBA. That CBA, not the one Isiah Thomas ran into the ground, allows the Jazz to offer Boozer more money and more years than any other team in the NBA. And more money and more years equals more security, which many players, especially in their young and mid-20's, seek out.
Second, the Jazz have a team that can contend in the NBA, as shown by their run to the Western Conference Finals in the 2007 playoffs. A main reason for the extended playoff run is Deron Williams. So why would a power forward, who works well in the Utah system, leave an all-star (soon to be) pass first point guard in Deron Williams, who strives for high assist numbers, to play with Dwayne Wade? Wade is a stellar player, but is not a point guard. He's a two-guard, and not a pass first two-guard. Boozer's numbers will decline in Miami due to their current personnel and system.
Third, Elton Brand becomes a free agent after this season. Brand has already signed with Miami once, as a restricted free agent. Brand is also coming off an injury, which would lower his value, at this time. Should he play half-way decent, his value would remain fairly equal and would likely be had by Miami for a lower price-tag than Boozer. Brand also offers more defense than Carlos Boozer, at this time.
Finally, after the PR problems in Cleveland and his last contract situation, Boozer cannot afford another contract snafu. This will not be his final contract, as he will get at least one more, maybe two to three, and another situation like that in Cleveland could doom his value on any future contract. Not that he won't get a contract, but GM's would be wary of the value of that contract.
Bottom line, Boozer remains with Utah with an extension that pays him max or near max money. Sorry to Andrei Kirilenko, as he will likely be traded before Boozer leaves Utah.