Carlos Boozer A Laker?

 —  February 21, 2005

Here is the hot trade rumor: Carlos Boozer to the Lakers for Caron Butler, Deavon George and Vlade Divac. Let me stress that as of right now this is just a rumor, one that got legs because Dennis Rodman’s former baby sitter said it on Fox Sports last night. Everyone else is denying it, but that doesn’t mean much.

If it does happen, lets look at the trade:

Boozer is a traditional four, something the Lakers have needed all season. They particularly need it if they are not going to play the triangle long term (remember George was a starter in the triangle for the last few years), the triangle does not need a great four to score. Even in the triangle, Boozer can play the Dennis Rodman roll, but adding a few more points.

Boozer has a PER of 19.47, is scoring 20.5 points per 40 shooting 52.1% eFG%, is scoring 1.12 points per shot attempt, and is averaging 10.3 rebounds per 40, 3.2 of them on the offensive glass. Those numbers would make him second on the team in PER, second in points per 40, second among starters (and fourth overall) in points per shot attempt, third on the team in rebounds per 40 and second in offensive rebounds. Those numbers are better than what the Lakers are giving up, but only because George has yet to play this season. B-R calculates that similar players at Boozer’s age were Shawn Kemp and Elton Brand, pretty good company.

Boozer is 23 years old and is making $11 mill this season and $11.6 million for the four after that. He is under contract through the 2008-09 season, with a player option for the 09-10 season. Utah allegedly wanted some cap relief (something they can get by buying out Vlade for $2 million at the end of the season plus Butler’s contract runs out after next season) and some athletic people who can play the three (they get two of them).

My first reaction is that I like this trade for the Lakers. Odom finally is forced to move to the three, which we have wanted to see all season. Boozer and Mihm make a strong front line, even though Boozer is not considered a great defender (opponents PER against him is 17.1). I think this makes the Lakers far more balanced team, at least on paper. I’m not sure why Utah would do this — they just signed Boozer as a free agent.

Updates throughout the day as we hear/read things.

Update #1: David Aldridge reported yesterday a Lamar Odom to the Kings for Peja and Bobby Jackson deal . I didn’t mention it because I find it hard to buy, that kind of a deal within the division is very rare. That said, Aldridge is one NBA reporter who tends to get his facts right. This would give the Lakers a point but gets us another small forward, something we need like we need more rain today. We shall see, but this seems unlikly to me.

Update #2: In case you didn’t see it, here is the quote from a Utah paper on the proposed Boozer trade: “Absolutely ludicrous,” said Jazz basketball operations senior vice president Kevin O’Connor.”

Update #3: Poster Gatinho mentioned it and here’s the link: Eric Pincus leans toward thinking this deal can get done, and if not Haley should update his resume quickly.

Update #4: Two people were not doing their jobs yesterday. Caron Butler missed Laker practice with a “stomach flu,” although it is common for players about to be traded sit out practice to avoid injury. Second, Jack Haley was not on the So Cal Sports Report last night. My guess is that pretty soon, one of those two will not be in Los Angeles.

Update #5: In case you haven’t seen it, T.J. Simers writes about Haley and his column today. He seems to think Haley is full of it, but we already knew that.