With a roster that was essentially empty save for Kobe Bryant, it was no secret entering 2014 NBA Free Agency that the Los Angeles Lakers were going to be active. Re-signing guys like Nick Young and Jordan Hill was a part of that, as was trading for point guard Jeremy Lin. They now have another relatively high-profile name coming to play under the shadow of the Hollywood sign.
According to multiple reports, the Lakers placed the highest bid in the amnesty auction for veteran power forward Carlos Boozer, meaning Boozer will be a Laker next season. Terms of their bid and the deal with Boozer have yet to be released, but it’s certain that the 32-year-old will be dressing in purple and gold next season.
Boozer has been on a steady fall from grace over the past few seasons that he’s spent with the Chicago Bulls. Partially due to an enormous contract that he wasn’t living up to and partially due to the emergence of young players like Taj Gibson, Boozer wasn’t getting the opportunities he once did in this league and seemed to be the scapegoat more often than not.
Setting those issues aside, Boozer is clearly past his prime as a player. As an awful defender, Boozer’s value is derived from what he’s able to do offensively and on the boards. Considering that his efficiency and counting stats have been on the decline over the past three seasons, that’s not a great look.
If the price isn’t monumentally foolish for Los Angeles to land Boozer after he was amnestied by Chicago, though, he could be a solid compliment in the frontcourt for this team. Not only can he still do positive things as a third or fourth option in an offense, but he can also serve as a tool to help rookie Julius Randle develop and come along at his own pace.
Boozer won’t likely be under the same level of scrutiny in Los Angeles as he was with the Bulls, but the Lakers still need him to contribute as an offensive threat and solid rotation big man. If he can do that, though, you can’t fault the Lakers for making this move.