The Utah Jazz Know What They’re Doing

July 13, 2009 – 12:54 am by Ryan Phillips

boozer-millsap

Several reports surfaced on Sunday that the Utah Jazz are desperate to trade Carlos Boozer so they will have the salary room to re-sign restricted free agent Paul Millsap. Millsap recently signed a four-year, $32 million offer sheet from the Portland Trailblazers, and the Jazz have less than a week to match the offer.

The Salt Lake City Tribune also reported Sunday that Jazz chief executive Greg Miller told Boozer that the franchise was going in a different direction, which prompted Boozer to ask for a trade. Interesting that Carlos Boozer didn’t opt out of his contract with the Jazz a few weeks ago but now is getting run out of town by the franchise. Karma is a bitch and irony can be hilarious.

Actually, on the surface this looks like an idiotic move by the Jazz, but after looking at the numbers Utah might be trying to do the right thing.

Boozer is 27-years-old, a seven year veteran and has missed major chunks of three seasons due to injuries. He managed to play in just 37 games this past season and his numbers weren’t great compared to the 2007-08 campaign. His points per game average dropped from 21.1 to 16.2. His field goal percentage dropped from 54.7 to 49.0 while his rebounds held steady at 10.4 per game.

On the surface it would appear that he’s hit a wall in his development. Plus, his price tag for the 2009-2010 season will be about $12.7 million.

Millsap, on the other hand, is 24 and just finished up his third NBA season.  He’s been remarkably durable over those three years, playing in 82, 82 and 76 games. He’s also improved dramatically. This past season his points per game average jumped from 8.1 to 13.5, while his rebounding went from 5.6 to 8.6 over his numbers from 2007-08. He’s also improved from the field, making 53.4 percent of his shots, as opposed to 50.4 in 2007-08.

Portland inserted several “poisoned pill” incentives into Millsap’s deal but it would be doable for the Jazz if they dumped Boozer. The Blazers front-loaded Millsap’s contract, so that with a $5.6 million signing bonus and agreeing to pay $4.7 million of his first-year $6.3 million salary up front, Millsap would get $10.3 million the day the deal became effective. Throw in the remaining $1.6 million that will be spread throughout next season and Millsap’s salary will jump from $797,581 last year, to $11.9 million this year. Nice work Paul (and Paul’s agent).

While Boozer has been a double-double machine since 2003, it would appear that given the same opportunity Millsap could end up being just as solid at a cheaper price tag.

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