What was the biggest shocker in recent memory? Certainly, it was Michael Jackson, the crowned leader of pop passing away at the ripe age of 50.
Hey, even Billy Mays died. Shocking, I know.
For those Jazz fans biting their nails, chewing on bath towels and clawing at their walls in anticipation of Tuesday's events, these followers wanted the exact developments to be squeezed out of the press as soon as possible.
Who was going to get suckered into paying Carlos Boozer?
Detroit, please, please, please, be Detroit. They just canned their underachieving coach and need a new cornerstone to build around, Jazz fans concluded.
Turns out, the ultimate five-buck magician pulled another jackrabbit out of an old, moldy hat.
The same guy that said back in December of 2008 that he was going to opt-out so he would "no matter what, get a raise, regardless," waved his fingers, spoke alakazam and voila, once again, the superlative con artist in the National Basketball Association hushed his critics second-guessing his actions.
He let everyone know that it's Carlos who's calling the shots at this juncture.
Coming back also is Jazz big man, Memo Okur, who had the chance to opt-out of his guaranteed $9 million slate for next season, but thought about it and calmly said, thanks, but no thanks.
What started out as what was dubbed the most- tumultuous off-season for any team in the league by critics, turned out to be a walk in the park Monday and Tuesday afternoons.
The sharp-shooting Kyle Korver announced he wanted one more guaranteed run in a Jazz uni Monday, so at least there may be some Ashton Kutcher sightings in downtown Salt Lake City.
So, with all the questions posed, with all the potential signs-and-trades and ups-and-downs that were supposed to happen within the Jazz organization, rumored all the way back to last summer is essentially over.
For the time being, that is.
With Boozer tattooing his way or the highway on yet another franchise, he basically has the Jazz in a potentially-deadly trap for the future.
That trap involves the tough-as-nails, excuse-me-these-are-my-elbows-and-that's-my-basketball, former second-round pick, Paul Millsap. The modern day Jerry Sloan. The same guy that conjured up 1.21 gigawats and took the DeLorean up to 88 miles per hour, went back in time and studied how the game of basketball is meant to be played.
He's that guy.
He's become more than a fan favorite in Utah—he's often viewed as the future of a hopefully-scrappy team, headed up by galactico point guard, Deron Williams.
Millsap is a restricted free agent and is currently being salivated over by team such as the Pistons and the Oklahoma City Thunder, who certainly see Millsap as a perfect fit of thunder to the lightning on their team—i.e., Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook.
With Boozer, Okur and Korver now back on the books for one more season, Millsap is the one in danger of becoming "the one that got away." Kinda like when the Jazz traded Dominique Wilkins for like a million bucks or something.
Kinda like that.
So the question is this for Greg Miller, Kevin O'Connor and the Jazz brass: Are you going to pony up, pay the lowest-paid, yet most- persevering player on the team, suffer the luxury tax for one season, throw Boozer a goodbye parade of epic proportions and move on in 2010?
Teams know that the Jazz want Millsap like a dude on the patch wants a cigarette. They want him. They brought him into this league and essentially told the other 29 teams that passed on the Louisiana Tech product to coolly pin their heads between there legs and kiss it.
There are problems. Last year is the quintessential method that those familiar with the Jazz should look at and sweat bullets.
Boozer is an obvious 20-and-10 cancer. His left hand is better than most guys' right and he can often rebound better than any player in the game. The negatives outweigh the positives—by a long shot on this team.
He plays no defense, by choice or not, it's criminal for a team looking to advance in the Western Conference. His leadership qualities are masked by his greed and inability to show that the team comes first before Carlos.
He's a magician, the ultimate illusionist.
Okur will do his thing. He'll hit timely shots, work hard when he's not injured and fluff up his newest euro-cut before wondering out on the court. But what he's not is a face-up, nor post defender against the likes of guys named Gasol, Nene, Aldridge.
So with basically the entire roster coming back next season, what should folks expect?
The puzzling road losses should continue to mount.
The team will rattle off a stellar run of play, quelling any thoughts that this team may be soft.
And then, come playoff time, the Jazz will flounder. A team with one legitimate warrior and leader (Williams) cannot survive—not in this wild, wild West.
Boozer and Okur are back. The jerseys will sell, while Boozer will be constantly questioned by his work-rate and his heart for Utah and the game of basketball.
And while Boozer and Okur continue to make an absurd amount of money, Paul Millsap, the consummate professional and non-stop hustling machine will be making his due. Jazz fans hope it will be in Utah, and truly thinking about it, one year in the luxury tax for a guy like Millsap is worth it.
Think of it as a hanging onto a flashy, yet cheapo model of a car for a year. All you gotta do is wait for the newer, younger and more assertive model to come out and that's when you pounce.
Until then, the most-unrivaled illusionist in the league will be waltzing through a $12.7 million season with a choke-hold around yet another franchise and stamping hallucinations into the minds of so many.
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