2015 NBA Free Agency: Clippers are interested in Carlos Boozer


Apr 13, 2015; Sacramento, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Carlos Boozer (5) celebrates with guard Jordan Clarkson (6) after scoring a basket against the Sacramento Kings during the fourth quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Sacramento Kings defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 102-92. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers have made an excellent acquisition with the signing of Paul Pierce, but there’s still a major worry they face in free agency: whether they can re-sign DeAndre Jordan. For the sake of the Clippers’ defense and their likelihood of challenging the Western Conference to make it past the second round, they cannot let him go.

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However, we’ll simply have to play the waiting game to see what he decides. Because right now, it’s “50/50” between Jordan staying in L.A. or joining the Dallas Mavericks (per Ramona Shelburne of ESPN). Regardless of whether he stays or leaves, though, the Clippers still need to address the issue of their frontcourt.

With the departure of Spencer Hawes in the Lance Stephenson trade with the Charlotte Hornets, the Clippers are mainly left with Glen Davis and rookie Branden Dawson as their primary back up big men (if Doc Rivers is kind enough to reward the young defensive specialist with some minutes). They may have Ekpe Udo as well, but after only playing 3.9 minutes per game this year, he’s hardly someone they can look to.

As a result, the Clippers have already been rumored to be interested in power forwards such as Lavoy Allen and Darrell Arthur during free agency. And now Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News has reported that they are interested in Carlos Boozer of the Los Angeles Lakers, too.

After a season in which the Lakers went 21-61, not many players on their roster were able to stand out. And after going from 76 starts in 2013-14 to just 26 this year, Carlos Boozer hardly made himself known in the way that rookie point guard Jordan Clarkson did.

That being said, Boozer’s numbers per 36 minutes are actually fairly respectable (even if he’s still a relatively weak defensive player). He averaged 17.8 points on 49.9 percent shooting, 10.3 rebounds and 2 assists. Although, his career-worst 62.7 percent free throw shooting and 0.3 blocks are far less impressive.

March 16, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Carlos Boozer (5) dribbles the basketball against Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23, left) during the first quarter at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Lakers 108-105. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

He spaced the floor well from mid range by shooting 47.2 percent from 10-16 feet out, and finished strong inside by making 67.5 percent of his shots from within three feet. Those are attributes that are always valued in a big man, and his shooting and rebounding could work well alongside the relentless defense and transition play of Branden Dawson, but Boozer’s defense is a problem.

He allowed opponents to shoot 52.4 percent at the rim this year, and with Glen Davis also being a weak rim protector, a poor post-defender such as 33 year old Boozer isn’t the best option. Dawson is a big help, and he may flourish as a defensive energizer with his athleticism and hustle this year, but the Clippers need defense far more than they need offense.

They ranked 1st in offensive efficiency but just 15th in defensive efficiency this year, which needs to be addressed in free agency. And in the worst case scenario of DeAndre Jordan leaving, that issue becomes far more prevalent.