By Steve Luhm
This whole unhappy Carlos Boozer Saga started, it seems to me, last December.
After the injury-battered Jazz scored what should have been an uplifting win at New Jersey, Boozer ruined the moment for everyone but his accountant by telling an ESPN reporter that he planned to opt out of his contract at the end of the season because, no matter what happened after that, he’d get a raise.
Boozer gave the selfish-sounding interview in street clothes, after missing another game with a knee injury that kept him out two more months and, in reality, negatively impacted his entire season.
Boozer’s timing was so strange — so anti-teammate — that the Jazz’s late owner, Larry Miller, called it the "one of the top 10 stupidest things I’ve heard an NBA player do in 20 years."
Jazz fans, especially those still trying to figure out exactly how they felt about the All-Star power forward because his injury-filled past and defensive shortcomings, eagerly agreed with Miller.
Suddenly, the general mistrust of Carlos Boozer and his motives along the Wasatch Front became as obvious as Mt. Olympus on a cloudless morning.
It got worse.
Boozer became Exhibit A for those looking for an explanation of why the Jazz stumbled down the stretch, finished eighth in the Western Conference and fell meekly to the top-seeded Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.