Carlos Boozer: 5 Teams That Should Be Interested in Acquiring Boozer
Carlos Boozer is not a particularly good defender. By points per possession allowed, Synergy had him ranked in the 54th percentile, and that number is probably aided by the fact that he plays for defensive mastermind Tom Thibodeau and is surrounded by a bunch of relentless ballhawks.
His contract—he's owed $47.1 million over the next three seasons—isn't one you would call desirable, either.
And he's battled injuries throughout his career, although he did play in all 66 games last year and his shaky reputation in this area is probably a little unfair.
But in a post-lockout NBA economy, some combination of these factors mean that he's almost certainly available for the right price. According to Marc Stein, that price might ultimately be the veteran's minimum after the Chicago Bulls decide to amnesty him after this season or the next.
It should never get to that point, in my opinion, because Carlos Boozer is still an effective NBA player, and there are plenty of teams that could use his services.
The Sixers made a big splash this summer, giving up Andre Iguodala in the deal that brought Andrew Bynum to Philly. But Bynum is hurt, again, and the team did little else to remedy what was the league's 20th-best offense last year.
Rather than waiting on Evan Turner to become an efficient scorer, why not double down on another talented big man with a spotty medical history?
If healthy, the two could form one of the most dangerous offensive frontcourts in the NBA. And with Bynum's ability to protect the paint, some of Boozer's defensive liabilities could be disguised, like they were in Chicago.
All of a sudden, Doug Collins can field a more complete team, with some feisty defenders on the perimeter and Thaddeus Young as a dynamic force off the bench.
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Somehow, the Nuggets have become one of the NBA's deepest teams without one legitimate low-post scoring threat.
Boozer may not be Karl Malone, but he ranked 15th among qualified power forwards in Player Efficiency Rating (PER) and would certainly provide a boost.
Right now, Kenneth Faried is penciled in at the 4, but he'd be a nice option to have for energy off the bench, backing up Boozer and Javale McGee, who is one of the league's best shot-blockers.
Cap-conscious general manager Masai Ujiri is in no rush to take on his contract, and George Karl can't be dreaming of plugging him into his uptempo system, but if Chicago were to amnesty him, they'd be wise to find a way to make it work.
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In an ill-conceived attempt to hasten a rebuilding effort that never got a chance to work, the Wizards swung deals to bring in high-priced veterans like Nene, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza.
And yet, it's still not clear who they are counting on to score the ball.
They like a few of their young bigs, including Jan Vesely and Trevor Booker, but after taking on so much salary and professing a commitment to change the culture of losing in Washington, taking a chance on Boozer could pay off.
Even if prized rookie Bradley Beal can contribute right away and John Wall improves on 42 percent career shooting, the Wiz could use a big man who can put the ball in the hoop. For all his flaws, Boozer and his outstanding mid-range game (48 percent from within 17 feet) can do that.
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So, after clearing Joe Johnson's max contract from their books, what should they do next? Add another one!
It would be unorthodox, but wouldn't a Josh Smith-Carlos Boozer-Al Horford frontline be interesting? We are in a positional revolution, after all.
Smith and Horford are such dynamic defenders that they can cover up Boozer's weaknesses, and with Jeff Teague running the show and shooters all around, this all of a sudden becomes a very dangerous team in a wide-open Eastern Conference.
Plus, Boozer would only have two years left on his deal this offseason, so it wouldn't come with too much long-term risk.
San Antonio Spurs
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If Carlos Boozer wound up with the Spurs, would anyone be surprised to see him be wildly effective?
You know the organization that has found ways to successfully incorporate dozens of imperfect role players over the past nearly two decades would have no problem maximizing his skills in their ever-evolving system.
By my count, Tim, Tony and Manu are undefeated when it comes to turning overlooked veterans into key components to their championship mix.
He's not the passer that last year's pickup Boris Diaw is, but he is willing to move the ball and would thrive in an offense that emphasizes spacing and creating open looks for shooters. He would allow them to finally move DeJuan Blair, and would make a deep team even deeper.