Does Carlos Boozer Really Deserve Punch-Line Status?

The announcement that the Los Angeles Lakers had won the bidding process on Carlos Boozer was largely met by derision from fans as well as media pundits.

Initial sentiments ran the gamut from the signing being a pure joke to the idea that Boozer’s deteriorating game might actually play into management’s tank plan.

In fact, the overwhelming reaction seemed to favor punch-line status over any positive benefit that an experienced frontcourt player could bring. It tapped into a collective zeitgeist that Boozer is the man you simply love to hate.

After starting every game he appeared in for the Chicago Bulls over a five-season stretch, the burly power forward was amnestied in order to alleviate luxury tax penalties as well as make room for newly signed big man Pau Gasol. The winning bid was a modest $3.25 million—a pittance compared to the total amount of Boozer’s salary of $16.8 million.

Yet the complaints rained down fast and furious—he’s over the hill, doesn’t play defense and completely failed to deliver in the playoffs last season.

In an article for The Cauldron, Andy Kamenetzky works through a devolution of summer decisions that ultimately leaves him asking whether Lakers management has abandoned a steady, methodical rebuild in favor of a few empty-calorie wins:  

Now nearly 33, Boozer clearly has zero future with Los Angeles. Ironically, though, as an amnesty claim, he now cannot be traded this season. This means that he’s not even useful as a deadline asset. He’s simply a 'name' who serves no other purpose but maintaining appearances. He bolsters the perception that the Lakers refuse to miss the postseason two consecutive seasons, even with a potential top-five-protected lottery pick in the balance.

And yet, there’s the matter of numbers. Jordan Hill averaged 9.7 points and 7.4 reboun...

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