Why Carlos Boozer Is a Necessary Addition for Los Angeles Lakers

It read like a punchline.

That was how a big chunk of the basketball world received it, at least. The Los Angeles Lakers, as ESPN.com's Marc Stein put it, "won" the auction for amnesty casualty Carlos Boozer:

While technically correct, not everyone agreed with Stein's word choice. After all, it doesn't seem easy to celebrate the arrival of a player who will collect an eight-figure salary to not suit up for the Chicago Bulls next season.

Yet, the big man adds a necessary piece to LA's complicated puzzle.

The franchise is being pulled in opposite directions by the desire to give Kobe Bryant something to work with now and the need to maintain financial flexibility going forward. By making a one-year investment in Boozer, the Lakers appear to have done both.


He Can Still Play

Boozer's All-Star past is nothing more than a distant memory.

At one point, he was a centerpiece for the Utah Jazz. Starting with the 2004-05 campaign, he enjoyed a wildly productive six-year run that saw him average 19.3 points on 54.4 percent shooting and 10.5 rebounds.

The Lakers aren't getting that player. But they aren't wasting a roster spot by bringing the 32-year-old aboard, either.

"Carlos is an established veteran and a proven all-star, who will be a welcome addition to our team,” general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement.

Boozer's 2013-14 season was the worst since his rookie year, but he still managed to put up 13.7 points and 8.3 rebounds in 28.2 minutes a night. He was one of 25 players to post at least 13-plus points and eight-plus rebounds and one of only four to hit those marks while playing fewer than 30 minutes per game.

His glass work in particular ranked among the NBA's best. He finished 12th in defensive rebounding percentage (25.9) and 20th in total rebounding percentage...

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