The free agent class of 2014 promises to be one of the best in the history of the NBA potentially, especially if certain players opt out of their contracts. As exciting as this is, Orlando Magic fans need to realize that they will be playing no part in trying to lure the big fish to Florida. Given where the team is at right now it is not going to happen; there is still much rebuilding to be done and that is not the kind of situation stars like to find themselves in. However, making some sort of move is also critical for this team as they move towards being relevant once more. They need to be seen to be being active in the market, showing potential free agents in 2015 and beyond that, Orlando is a place you want to be. With that in mind, is it worth looking at trying to trade for Carlos Boozer of the Chicago Bulls?
On the surface you would have to say no, and for a whole variety of reasons that need to be looked at. First, he is entering the last year of his contract and is owed a heavy $16.8 million heading into next year. Of course he is not worth that money; since arriving in Chicago four years ago from the Utah Jazz he has not played on a level near that kind of money. On top of that, there is a strong possibility that if the team traded for him then he would just walk for nothing after next year. So where is the sense in trading for an overpaid player who won’t be with the team long term?
Perhaps it is worth putting a different spin on the scenario. Orlando has the money, and needs to make a statement of intent of some sort, even if it is just renting an overpriced power forward for a year. Their main moves will be made in the equally exciting NBA draft this summer, when yet more talent can be added to the promising core already in place. Spending big on this guy would only really hurt the team for a year, a year in which it is continuing to build through youth anyway. More intriguing is the fact the Bulls are desperate to get rid of this guy. Orlando would not have to give up all that much to acquire him you would think, given that Chicago seems to be making a run at Carmelo Anthony to pair with Joakim Noah and the returning Derrick Rose. They need his contract off the books, and Orlando could take that financial hit more than most. Other players would then see that the Magic are at least serious about paying top dollar in future to secure talent, talent that is of a higher standard than Boozer.
As average as this guy appears to the outside world, which he is so much of the time, Boozer still gives Chicago 13.7 points and 8.3 rebounds a night. Not worth the money he earns obviously, but he’s not that bad. It just so happens that the younger, cheaper and more efficient Taj Gibson is also better than him, making Boozer appear more of a Bulls flop than he actually is. He’s never going to be an All-Star again, but a veteran who has been deep in the playoffs and still gets things done could prove a shrewd, yet expensive, signing for this team.
Of course ideally it would be much more beneficial to the Magic to strike it lucky and get a perceived mid-level player for little money to enhance this team (Think Jarrett Jack for the Golden State Warriors or Goran Dragic with the Phoenix Suns). It is also worth going after a name of some sort though, and while there are much better players out there, Boozer is at least known by a lot of casual fans an represents to other players a team trying to get themselves back to the playoffs. Will it happen though? Probably not, and you’d have to say there are more than just a couple of valid reasons why. But in this exciting summer ahead, it is worth exploring all of the options available to this team, and doing a deal to get Carlos Boozer on board is one of them. It is one of the more unlikely scenarios that could play out for this team, but perhaps there is a bit of method to this mad theory? Would you agree?