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Boozer faces former team for first time



Published: Sat, January 15, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Cleveland front office accused him of backing out of a verbal contract.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah's Carlos Boozer didn't expect any hard feelings from his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammates.

On Saturday, Boozer faced the team that drafted him for the first time since he signed a $68 million deal with the Jazz, leaving the Cleveland front office accusing him of backing out of a verbal commitment.

Boozer has maintained there was never any such agreement and that his former teammates never resented his leaving.

"They've been cool with that for a long time. That's way behind," Boozer said. "They understand it was business. As soon as it happened, they were the first to congratulate me."

LeBron James agreed.

It was only business

"It's a business for us," James said. "He had to do what was best for his family."

Cleveland coach Paul Silas he didn't have much to say about Boozer.

"I don't want to think about it," Silas said after practice Friday. "That situation, it's history."

Boozer spent his first two NBA seasons with the Cavaliers and signed with the Jazz after Cleveland let him become a restricted free agent last summer.

It's been a good fit so far. Boozer leads the team in scoring (19.4 points) and rebounding (9.3), but the Jazz have struggled the last two months and took the floor against the Cavaliers with a 13-25 record.

Cleveland, meanwhile, is one of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference at 21-13. So if the Cavaliers miss Boozer, it hasn't shown.

XSaturday's game was completed too late for today's edition but will be detailed on Monday.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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