For the third straight year the Utah Jazz's postseason fate has been decided by the Los Angeles Lakers, and even though the pain from this defeat will linger, thoughts immediately shift to forward Carlos Boozer's future with the team.
Or maybe it's better to say Boozer's lack of a future in Utah, because after Boozer's courageous but desperate performance against the Lakers, it's all but certain he will don the colors of another team next season.
Boozer has been a great player for the Jazz and he has fit well within the boundaries of Jerry Sloan's system, but it has become evident he is not the post player best suited to complement point guard Deron Williams' game.
The Jazz have remained stuck in neutral during Boozer's tenure in Utah, and although they have been a sure bet to qualify for the postseason, recent history says the Jazz has reached their ceiling as a team.
This was exposed in the series with the Lakers by the dominance of the taller, more versatile Pau Gasol, who dominated Boozer and rendered him virtually ineffective for much of the series.
Boozer's inability to hold his ground against Gasol may be the root reason for Boozer's impending free agency departure, and management must understand the team's future with Boozer in the fold would never advance past this point.
It may be the reason Utah decided to offer Paul Millsap a handsome contract last year, and Boozer's sometimes casual indifference in the post may have swung the pendulum in Milsap's favor.
Millsap averaged much better numbers than Boozer compared to his reserve role, and his energy and passion for playing the game far outweighed any of Boozer's efforts in the postseason.
If Millsap is able to mirror his reserve play in a starter's role, then the Jazz can easily afford to part with Boozer, plus they have a first round pick in this year's draft, courtesy of the New York Knicks, and the money which would be freed up from Boozer's departure.
Jerry Sloan's system in Utah is one of the NBA's best, and with Williams, who may be the league's top point guard running the show, all the Jazz need is another player worthy of a maximum contract.
Boozer is not that player, and although he will undoubtedly score a decent sum of money from another team, he has done nothing to prove he truly belongs among the NBA's elite.
Utah will have numerous options to explore entering the offseason, and they should certainly have their gaze focused on a certain power forward who now calls Toronto home.
Chris Bosh would be the perfect fit for Sloan's pick and roll system in Utah, and he has the versatility to be the perfect complement to Williams in a John Stockton and Karl Malone sort of way.
This is a deal that could work, but not unless the Jazz do some serious soul searching and finally confirm that Boozer is not the player they pay him to be, and move ahead with their future plans.
In reality, it shouldn't be that hard, because the state of Utah has the confirmation of the past three seasons as evidence to where a Jazz team with Boozer as the second option will get you.