The Bulls using the amnesty provision on Boozer means that they have to pay the difference between the winning bid for Boozer’s services and what the contract originally promised. Though that number does not count against their salary cap. So while Jerry Reinsdorf was probably hoping Boozer would rake in $9 million, this $3.2 million dollar winning bid is likely the most they could expect. That means that Chicago still has to pay Boozer $13.2 million to play against them.
Boozer is essentially a replacement for Pau Gasol, though at this point he seems like a pretty clear downgrade. If he wasn’t, then the Bulls wouldn’t have been so keen to pay Boozer’s salary for him to play somewhere else. Still, just from a talent standpoint, the Lakers are getting a steal here.
It’s the consensus that Boozer had the worst season of his career last year, but he still averaged 8.3 rebounds and 13.7 points per game off only 28.2 minutes.2 Yeah, those aren’t all-star numbers, but considering Ben Gordon is getting paid $4.5 million this year, those numbers are worth well more than $3.2 million.
Where it gets weird is from a franchise development standpoint. It seems all but certain that the Lakers aren’t going to be a contender in the still-strong Western Conference this year. They were a woeful 27-55 last season, and while they didn’t have Kobe Bryant, they’ve now lost two of their best players from 2013-14 in Gasol and Jodie Meeks. On top of that, they just drafted Julius Randle, who will likely be splitting time with Boozer. It isn’t as if Randle was going to be playing 40 minutes each game if Boozer wasn’t in LA, but this just seems like an extra roadblock when the Lakers could have pursued players for positions where they don’t have a top-10 pick coming in.
With Bryant, Nash and Boozer, the Lakers would have had a great team six years ago. I’m not so sure that trio is going to fare nearly as well in 2014-15.