Following the NBA’s 2003–04 season, LeBron James’ coming out pro party, the Cavaliers had the right to exercise an option on Carlos Boozer. The Duke forward had been the 37th pick in the ’02 draft, and was locked into a relatively scrawny salary (600G) for someone who’d just averaged 15.5 points and 11.4 rebounds as a soph.
The Cavs finished 37–45 that year, a lotto team despite the advent of the high school kid dubbed The Chosen One, who still smelled like milk. Cleveland was hardly a desired destination of flashy free agents.
In an effort to do right by Boozer (the first teammate who didn’t want to play with LeBron) and send a message to prime time players throughout the league, Gordon Gund, an honors’ owner, did the unthinkable; he took an agent and his client at their word.
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