For those of you wondering: No, Carlos Boozer is not yet retired. The former Utah Jazz and Chicago Bulls forward played last season in China with the Guangdong Southern Tigers, who almost made it to the Chinese Basketball Association finals. With the Chinese season over, he’s free to make a move back into the NBA. And according to ESPN’s Marc Stein, a couple of playoff teams in the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers are both monitoring Boozer with the possibility of signing him before the playoffs start.
Stein also mentions in his report that Jimmer Fredette is looking for another shot with an NBA team. But the 35-year-old Boozer has a much better chance of catching on than Fredette, who has never proven to be even a fringe NBA rotation player. Boozer was last seen putting up nearly 12 points on 50 percent shooting with 7 rebounds per game for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2014-15 season. Can he actually make a difference with either the Heat or Clippers if he does get signed?
Boozer’s fit with the Heat
The Heat have crashed the Eastern Conference playoff picture and now have a decent chance to make it in. Their guards can certainly compete with anyone in the playoffs, but their forward depth leaves a lot to be desired. Starting power forward Luke Babbitt plays just 16 minutes per game and doesn’t offer anything in terms of rebounding. Okaro White can’t really be trusted with meaningful playoff minutes, and Udonis Haslem is no longer a functional NBA player. That leaves just James Johnson to play majority of the minutes at the 4.
Even though Boozer hasn’t played NBA basketball in two years and has likely lost whatever athleticism he had left, the Heat could still use him even if he can provide just 5-10 minutes of meaningful NBA basketball. Boozer doesn’t really stretch the floor to the 3-point line like the Heat would like, but he does have a reliable mid-range jumper that could be useful. He can also offer a lot more physicality down low - not to mention playoff experience - than either Babbitt or White.
Boozer’s fit with the Clippers
LA’s interest in Boozer is a bit more confusing. The Clips already have Brandon Bass, who is four years younger than Boozer and can presumably provide what Boozer will be brought on to do – hit some jump shots, play rugged defense, and crash the boards in limited minutes. They also have Marreese Speights, another big man who can give some meaningful minutes off the bench.
The Clips have also been linked with free agent Omri Casspi, who looks like a better fit given their current needs. Wes Johnson and Paul Pierce haven’t been the versatile forwards who can stretch the floor for the Clippers in smaller lineups. Casspi can fill that role much better, and should be their main priority over Boozer.