LeBron James: What Could've Happened If Carlos Boozer Never Left Cleveland?

Mike B.Correspondent IMay 19, 2011

LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 12:  Carlos Boozer #1 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers on January 12, 2004 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 89-79.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Choosing to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat last summer, LeBron James is possibly the most hated man in Cleveland.

James wasn't the first Cavalier to ever tick Clevelanders off, though.

Back in the summer of 2004, Carlos Boozer did a pretty good job as well. A restricted free agent at the time, he supposedly promised the Cavs that he would re-sign with the team.

However, he ended up signing an offer sheet with the Utah Jazz. Cleveland had the right to match the offer, but simply couldn't since they didn't have the available cap space. So Boozer officially became a member of the Jazz, leaving the Cavs organization feeling that he betrayed them.

In Utah, Boozer would become a two-time NBA All-Star and one of the top power forwards the league had to offer. He also teamed up with Deron Williams and Mehmet Okur to turn the Jazz into a threat in the Western Conference. 

Without Boozer on board, the LeBron-led Cavs still enjoyed quite a bit of success. The team reached the NBA Finals in 2007 and later led the league in regular-season victories for two consecutive seasons. However, Cleveland never managed to bring home a title.

But what if Boozer didn't decide to take his talents to Utah and stuck around a while in Cleveland?

Would he have helped the Cavs get over the hump and capture a title?

James and Boozer played together for one season, 2003-04, which was James' rookie year. But just think what kind of duo those two would have formed in Cleveland if they had played several seasons together. 

Boozer's low-post scoring would definitely have been a welcome addition to the Cavs ballclub that participated in the '07 finals.

That team was swept by Tim Duncan's San Antonio Spurs in the series. With Boozer in the lineup, the Cavs still wouldn't have beaten the mighty Spurs and won it all, but they probably would have pulled off at least two wins instead of none.

The James-Boozer duo just might have powered Cleveland past the Orlando Magic in the 2009 Eastern Conference finals. However, they most likely would have fallen to the Los Angeles Lakers in the finals like the Magic did.

The Cavs just wouldn't have had an answer for L.A.'s tall frontline and, of course, who was going to stop the always determined Kobe Bryant, the '09 Finals MVP?

Then again, Boozer just might have emerged as James' "Scottie Pippen," or in other words, the perfect Robin to his Batman.

You never know—Boozer in Cleveland could have helped create a Cavs mini dynasty.

A Cavs dynasty would certainly have kept James from making the "Decision" to leave town for Miami last July. With multiple rings, there wouldn't be a reason for him to join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in South Beach.

James' Heat and Boozer's Chicago Bulls are currently duking it out in the Eastern Conference finals. The two stars are opponents, just like they've been for the past seven years, but they could have been a dangerous one-two punch in northeastern Ohio for many years.