With free agency “heating up” and well under way, Carlos Boozer’s name has been thrown around an awful lot. Of course, the possibility of Boozer leaving Utah has been a hot topic for quite some time, but right now when everything is a no-holds-barred free-for-all, his possible departure is hitting me harder than ever before. Sure I have heard things like, “Boozer’s gonna be gone after this year,” or, “Yeah, I hear the Heat are interested in Boozer,” for a while now, but the actuality of it happening has never been so real and so close. At any given moment, Carlos Boozer can jump on board with another team, and the Jazz will be left trying to figure out how they are going to replace him.
For me, personally, I see Boozer as the beating heart of this Utah Jazz team. His energy and passion, which can be heard all around the world during Jazz games, is second to none, and I am not so sure that it can be replaced so easily. And not only that, but his numbers are also valuable, as he is a consistent double-double, night in and night out. Boozer’s ability to finish near the basket with either hand and his ability to knock down the mid-range jumper causes defenses headaches, and it makes the job of Deron Williams much easier than most people realize.
A huge reason why I don’t want to see Boozer leave now is because of the way he ended off with the Jazz. Watching Boozer struggle down the stretch against the Lakers in the playoffs was really hard for me, as Boozer has truly become a guy that I love to root for. How can you not? You see how much this guy wants to win, and he is willing to leave it all out on the floor for the goodness of the team. When you see a player like him trying so hard, yet still falling short, you can’t help but feel bad. The emotions that he feels are so easy to read, and when he is down, I am down. On the other hand, when he is charged up and doing the things he does best, there is nobody better to root for.
In my honest opinion, I believe that the Jazz need to do everything in their power to lure Carlos Boozer back to Utah. Between his character and emotional leadership in the locker room, and his on-court production, there is nobody realistically available that the Jazz can acquire right now that can make up for his loss. He is truly the Malone to D-Will’s Stockton, and I believe that Jerry Sloan is well aware of that. Sure the Jazz have an uncanny ability to find players to fill roles, but when it comes to a piece like Carlos Boozer, there is only so much you can do. Without Boozer, what do the Jazz really have as a team? Can Batman actually be Batman if he doesn’t have Robin? (or vice versa. Whatever you prefer.)
I think not. And if the Jazz do eventually lose Carlos Boozer to free agency, I think everybody will see it too.