The frustrations became wide-ranging for Carlos Boozer, spending his lone year with the Lakers last season missing the playoffs and partly fulfilling a bench role for the first time in eight years.
But despite averaging 11.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per-game average in what represented his lowest marks since his rookie year in the 2002-03 season, Boozer has fielded interest from various teams since free agency started. Among the teams that expressed interest in signing him included the Lakers, Clippers, San Antonio, Portland, Dallas, Houston, Boston, Washington and Miami, according to a league source familiar with the situation.
The Lakers did not express much interest in retaining Boozer after the 2014-15 season, mindful of his performance and its bloated frontcourt that currently includes Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr, Ryan Kelly and Tarik Black. The Lakers also would like to retain Ed Davis, though it remains unclear if they will keep him after he declined his player option worth $1.1 million player option.
Yet, the Lakers’ sentiments might change if they fail to land a marquee big man in free agency. Cleveland forward and UCLA product Kevin Love announced on the Players’ Tribune’s website that he will re-sign with the Cavaliers. Though his agency dismissed the reports, Portland center LaMarcus Aldridge is believed to have ruled out the Lakers following a 2 1/2 meeting with them on Tuesday night. The Lakers also met with Detroit center Greg Monroe in Washington D.C. on Wednesday and plan to see Clippers center DeAndre Jordan later this evening. But both players have other options, too.
The Lakers acquired Boozer last summer through an amnesty bid worth $3.2 million, a move they considered a steal. After all, Boozer’s 12-year NBA career featured two NBA All-Star appearances and a stint with the 2008 U.S. men’s Olympic team that won the gold medal in the Beijing Games.
But Boozer eventually lost his starting position 19 games into the season, a move that prompted him to question coach Byron Scott. Boozer had since maintained a positive attitude. Boozer’s numbers in 43 games off the bench (11.6 points on 50.4-percent shooting and 6.8 rebounds) slightly mirrored contributions in 26 games as a starter (12.1 points on 49.3-percent shooting and 6.7 rebounds). Even when he sat in 10 of the last 14 games for the Lakers’ quest to develop younger players, Boozer publicly supported the decision.
In his exit interview, Boozer continuously praised the Lakers’ rebuilding process, Kobe Bryant’s leadership, Scott’s coaching and the team’s young talent. But Boozer expressed interest in staying with the Lakers only if they seemed equipped to make the playoffs next year after finishing last season with a 21-61 mark, its worst in franchise history. Since then, the Lakers acquired Ohio State point guard D’Angelo Russell with the No. 2 pick of the 2015 NBA Draft.