The last thing the Los Angeles Lakers need is Carlos Boozer. Boozer looks set to be amnestied by the Chicago Bulls and rumors are circulating that the Lakers could be potential suitors for the 32-year-old.
Rumor: Once the Bulls use the amnesty clause on Carlos Boozer, Lakers will show interest. (Chicago Tribune)
— Sports Update (@MySportsUpdate) July 6, 2014
The Lakers need to be in the market for youth this offseason, not an aging veteran whose game has been on an accelerated decline the last four seasons. Incapable of putting out any sort of numbers in the fourth quarter last season, the Lakers can’t afford to have another year where close games aren’t won.
Boozer has had good fortune against the Lakers; he averaged 20 points and 13 rebounds in the first round loss as a prominent member of the Utah Jazz in the 2008-09 season. Those days are now just a speck in the rear view mirror of Boozers’ career.
Averaging only 13 points and eight rebounds a contest last season, Boozer was looked over by Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau in the fourth quarter of close games. Shooting a career-worst 45 percent during the season, that number dropped further at the back end of games. With an aging Kobe Bryant unable to provide the late game heroics as regularly as seasons past, the Lakers need a supporting cast capable of coming up with the goods late in games. Boozer doesn’t provide that.
Having selected Julius Randle in the NBA Draft this summer, it makes even less sense to have an established player expecting starting minutes on the roster. Boozer is no stranger to complaining about minutes and assuming the Lakers have every intent of opening the season with Randle as their starting power forward, it can only be expected the season would also start with an unhappy Boozer.
The best scenario for Randle and his development is to be the outright starting power forward playing alongside a veteran center. Pau Gasol fits that mold perfectly and is rightfully one of the first free agents Mitch Kupchack made contact with.
If the Lakers are successful in their pursuit of LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony, it’s highly likely Gasol re-signs and the prospect of Boozer becomes nothing more than a bad dream.