Who Wants Boozer?
May 8, 2009 -
Despite the fact that most of us are down on Boozer, he is a proven 20/10 guy when healthy, and there just aren’t many of those in the league. For that reason, I believe a number of teams would be highly interested in acquiring him, and possibly willing to give up good players to make it happen. The most logical destination for Booz is a team with a strong defensive front-court presence that needs more scoring and rebounding.
I’ve gone through all 29 teams and grouped them into 3 categories with respect to their potential interest level in Boozer:
LITTLE TO NONE
Boston – They have KG.
Dallas – They have Dirk.
LA Clippers – Boozer is too similar to Randolph.
LA Lakers – They need a PG, not a PF.
Minnesota – They have Al Jefferson.
New Orleans – They have David West.
OKC – They have Jeff Green.
Orlando – They have Rashard Lewis.
Philly – They have Brand.
Phoenix – They have Amare.
Portland – They have Aldridge.
Cleveland – They are dominating right now. Why mess that up? And would they want Booz after he screwed them?
Denver – Moot point, as the Jazz would never trade Boozer within the division.
Houston – The Rockets wouldn’t want a third injury-prone all-star.
Indiana – Murphy had a nice year for them and is cheaper.
Miami – Rumored to be interested, but the Jermaine O’Neil trade pretty much killed that prospect.
New York – Might want Booz if they don’t keep David Lee, but they have no shot blockers.
San Antonio – Boozer would actually be great next to Duncan, but the Spurs would have to give up Parker or Ginobli to make it work. Not gonna happen.
Toronto – Only makes sense if they think Bosh will bolt.
That leaves us with 10 teams who could/have legitimate interest in acquiring Boozer:
Atlanta – They have Horford, Pachulia, and Josh Smith – all decent defenders, but none of them are prolific scorers. Booz could be a missing piece for this mid-tier playoff team.
Charlotte – They don’t have a true PF and could really use one. Okafor is a good defender and shot blocker to compensate for Boozer’s weakness. This one makes a lot of sense.
Chicago – They have Noah, Brad Miller, and Tyrus Thomas. All can defend, but none can score or rebound like Boozer. He could take a lot of pressure off their backcourt.
Detroit – They are in rebuilding mode and apparently have interest in Boozer. They could sign him outright but might consider a sign-and-trade to save cap space.
Golden State – Most of their points come from the perimeter. They could definitely use the post scoring and rebounding Boozer would bring.
Memphis – They have good prospects at most every position, except PF. They also have the cap space to sign Boozer outright.
Milwaukee – Boozer would be a big upgrade over Villanueva at PF, and a nice complement to Bogut.
New Jersey – Their backcourt is strong, but the frontcourt lacks scoring punch. They do have a number of young shot blockers that Booz could play beside.
Sacramento – They need everything except a shooting guard (KMart). Their frontcourt is young and could use a veteran scorer and rebounder.
Washington – They have shot-blocking centers and good wings, but no real low post threat (Jamison is more a perimeter forward). Plus they are awful and need to make changes.
Next, the challenge becomes identifying realistic sign-and-trade possibilities for each of these teams that both sides would be happy with. Here’s my best shot:
Atlanta – Boozer for Josh Smith + filler
Jazz could certainly use his athleticism and shot blocking. I would actually prefer Joe Johnson, but I doubt Atlanta would part with him unless they don’t expect him to re-sign. Al Horford and Marvin Williams could also work.
Charlotte – Boozer and Brewer for Gerald Wallace and Raja Bell
This deal would greatly improve Utah’s defense and wing scoring. Okafor is another possibility but would be risky with his big contract (2014) and injury history.
Chicago – Boozer for Kirk Hinrich and Tyrus Thomas
Hinrich would be an ideal combo guard for the Jazz, and Thomas is an athletic shot blocker. There are actually a number of potential trades that could work with the Bulls that include a combination of Hinrich, Thomas, Gordon, Salmons, Noah, etc. The perfect deal for the Jazz would be Booz and CJ for Hinrich and Salmons, but I doubt the Bulls would do it. If they would, I couldn't sign that contract fast enough.
Detroit – Boozer for Rip Hamilton
I would also love Tayshaun Prince, but that doesn’t make as much sense unless the Jazz move AK. Rip would bring shooting and defense, two things the Jazz could sure use.
Golden State – Boozer and CJ for Jamal Crawford, Rony Turiaf, Kalenna Azubuike, and a 1st round pick
This would net the Jazz an explosive combo guard, a 3-point threat, and a great shot blocker. As with the Bulls, there are a number of potential trades that could work involving a combination of Crawford, Turiaf, Maggette, Biedrins, Wright, etc. That said, I would prefer to include AK in a deal with GS since they are a team that might want him.
Memphis – No deal
They probably wouldn’t give up Gay, Mayo, or Gasol considering they don’t need a sign-and-trade to get Boozer. Darrell Arthur is likely the best the Jazz could do.
Milwaukee – Boozer for Richard Jefferson
I’d like to see the Jazz to get Bogut, but the more I think about it, the Bucks would have an incredibly small frontcourt without him. I doubt they let him go. Jefferson would provide a nice scoring upgrade at the wing, but he’s expensive.
New Jersey – Boozer for Brook Lopez and Bobby Simmons (filler + expiring contract)
Jersey only does this if they are trying to win now (i.e. while Vince Carter is still playing at a high level). Otherwise, there’s no way they let go of Lopez after his impressive rookie campaign.
Sacramento - Boozer and CJ for Francisco Garcia, Jason Thompson, and Kenny Thomas (filler + expiring contract), and a 1st round pick
Since Boozer can’t be traded until the free-agent signing period begins, lottery and draft results could impact the Kings’ interest. If they get Griffin, they won’t want Boozer. Cisco would be a big upgrade over CJ, and Thompson showed nice potential in his rookie season.
Washington – Boozer and CJ for Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood
This deal makes the Jazz bigger and tougher. Butler brings a true scoring threat and tough defense from the wing. Haywood is a big shot blocker. As with Sacramento, draft results will likely impact Washington’s interest.
Obviously these trade scenarios will be heavily influenced by whether or not Boozer opts out of the final year of his contract as he indicated he would. I'll post an update after the beginning of free agency when the landscape should be a little more clear.