Why Los Angeles Lakers Should Bring Back Carlos Boozer Next Season

Carlos Boozer has been a mildly pleasant surprise since being assigned a bench role by the Los Angeles Lakers. Management will have a decision to make at the end of the season: whether or not to sign the free agent to a new contract.

The 33-year-old was picked up off amnesty waivers from the Chicago Bulls in July and arrived in Los Angeles as a player who had already become a crackling lightning rod of controversy.

With his star on the wane, Boozer had grown disenchanted with a lack of minutes in fourth-quarter situations, saying per Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com: “It's very frustrating, especially when I've got a great game going or what have you. Obviously as a competitor, you want to be out there to help your team win and especially when the game is close.”

When Boozer first came to Chicago, he was the man on a 5-year, $80 million deal. But over time, his role diminished, with young players like Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah rising to prominence.

The frontcourt veteran was also taking up cap space with a $16.8 million tab for the final year on his contract. By using the one-time amnesty clause, the Bulls were still on the hook for Boozer’s salary but were able to alleviate his cap number, giving the team room to sign former Lakers big man Pau Gasol. 

Just days later, L.A put in a $3.25 million blind bid and wound up winning the prize, plugging the hole left by Gasol with an inexpensive stopgap alternative.

The new arrival was not initially judged by his bargain basement cost but by the perception of a fading talent joining a team building for a brighter future. Would an old pro be a mentor for the Lakers’ No. 7 draft pick, Julius Randle, or would he block the rookie’s path?

As it turned out, Randle went out for the season with a broken leg during his debut game, something the team obviously couldn’t have predicted.

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