Jan 15, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Chicago Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer (5) against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando Magic: Is Carlos Boozer The Key?

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?

Despite a far from great reputation, Carlos Boozer isn’t as bad a player as a lot of people make out. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

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?

Tags: Carlos Boozer Orlando Magic

  • tdh

    ORL should consider Boozer, but only if it shows benefit to the team in the long-run. Boozer is not worth his paycheck, but still is a solid PF which ORL lacks after the Big Baby Davis debacle. Orlando also has Victor playing PG when he is native to SG, which Afflalo is playing in this spot. ORL should consider trading Afflalo’s final year ($8M currently which could be more if S&T is done) as a S&T and some other expiring that CHI will waive for Boozer’s contract and picks. CHI has the 16th and 19th pick in the first round. If ORL can get one of those picks and possibly some future picks (like the ones CHI got back from CLE for Deng) for Afflalo which is likely to be shipped out, if he does not extend by the trade deadline anyway they will be forced to get something back for him by trading him, then they should do it now and get picks they can select as a fit in ORL. That is a win-win for ORL and CHI both, since CHI needs a SG with offense badly. ORL would be able to move Victor to SG to develop at his native position for the long-term, keep Jameer at PG, and then they have a vet PF in Boozer to go with Nik and the young Forwards in the backcourt for next season where he is not blocking any player with NBA experience from last season and can work with the rookies they acquire. They would be gaining a current pick for the first round, and possibly future pick to add to the 2 first rounders they already have for rebuilding. They would only lose Afflalo (likely leaving anyway) for Boozer which will expire but gain picks for the loss, either of which would be gone after next season anyway. Boozer could be retained if he took a more modest salary and wanted to remain in Orlando, but at least could contribute short term without keeping Victor from his position.