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Carlos Boozer Has Instructions to Quit Talking About His Contract

Dec 20, 2008 – 1:00 AM
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Matt Watson

Matt Watson %BloggerTitle%

Carlos BoozerA report from the Palace of Auburn Hills, where the Pistons faced the Utah Jazz on Dec. 20.

Earlier this week, Carlos Boozer confirmed what most of us assumed all along: he planned on opting out of the final year of his contract this summer in hopes of signing a long-term deal.

It's simple math: a six-year deal is better than a one-year deal, right? Gilbert Arenas made the same announcement last season and created zero outrage. The reaction from Utah's front office and ownership, though, was surprisingly indignant. GM Kevin O'Connor called the revelation "peculiar," and owner Larry Miller went so far as to say, "It's one of the top 10 stupidest things I've heard an NBA player do in 20 years."

Unexpectedly stuck with a public relations nightmare on his hands, Boozer was in full cleanup mode while talking to reporters before Friday's game.

"I called and I talked to everybody in the [front] office and I told them that obviously I made a mistake and I apologize," Boozer said. "For me, I felt like I did the wrong thing by speaking about it, but it's over, it's done with.

"Obviously I let them know that I want to be in a Jazz uniform, they know that -- it's the same thing I told you guys yesterday, the same thing you guys have been hearing all along."

Boozer continued while smiling: "The rest of it, I've been instructed to say (laughter), I've been instructed to say that, 'The front office with the Jazz and my agent will work everything else out. And I'll give my input this summer.' That was instructions, so ..."

By this point everybody -- me, Boozer and both Jazz beat reporters -- were all laughing. It was obvious he wasn't going to dig himself a deeper hole, as much as we tried to get him to elaborate. I asked him if he was surprised at the controversy he started -- to me, Utah's reaction was more surprising than his actual comments --but he wouldn't bite.

"I don't know, man. I just -- again, I was instructed ... (laughter) I have instructions."

Even so, he couldn't resist trying to clarify. "I don't want people to think I'm opting out so I can bolt and get out of there," he said. "That's what everybody assumes, but it's not about that. Look, even with you guys ... Say you have a one-year deal with your company you work for but you have the opportunity to sign a six-year deal, what would you do?"

The same thing anybody would do, and likely the same thing Kevin O'Connor and Larry Miller would do were they in Boozer's shoes. Go for the long-term security.

"Obviously," he said. "But when we do it ... you know what I'm saying?"

He stopped talking, perhaps remembering his instructions.
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