Lakers Claim Carlos Boozer Off Waivers

July 17 at 10:52pm CST By Chuck Myron

10:52pm: The Lakers have officially announced the addition of Boozer via a team release.

“Carlos is an established veteran and a proven all-star, who will be a welcome addition to our team,” said GM Mitch Kupchak. “We’re very pleased to have won the bidding process and to have gained his rights, and look forward to his contributions next season.”

5:29pm: The Lakers secured Boozer with a winning bid of $3.25MM, reports Stein (via Twitter). Consequently, the Bulls will owe Boozer the difference of $13.55MM.

4:08pm: The Lakers submitted the winning bid to secure Carlos Boozer off amnesty waivers, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). It’s not immediately clear how much the Lakers bid, but it is a partial claim of his $16.8MM salary, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The Lakers will be on the hook for the amount of their bid and the Bulls will have to pay the rest, though L.A.’s amount will count against the cap and Chicago’s won’t.

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Orlando MagicThe Bulls had tried to fold Boozer into what would have been a sign-and-trade for Pau Gasol, but the Lakers turned Chicago away, as K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune notes (on Twitter), only to secure Boozer at a lower cost. Chicago wound up amnestying Boozer to clear the cap space necessary to sign Gasol and Nikola Mirotic.

The Hornets and Hawks appeared to be the early favorites to submit partial waiver claims for Boozer, but Charlotte took itself out of the running after agreeing to a deal with Lance Stephenson. Teams with cap room were the only ones eligible to submit a bid, encompassing about a third of the league. The Lakers could have opened up as much roughly $3MM for Boozer while still retaining Kendall Marshall‘s non-guaranteed contract and the rights to restricted free agent Ryan Kelly.

The specter of a Boozer amnesty hung over the Bulls all season, particularly once Carmelo Anthony reportedly identified the team among his top choices in free agency. Amnestying Boozer appeared to be the easiest path toward clearing the necessary cap room for a splashy upgrade. Chicago made a pitch to Anthony and also reportedly met with Rich Paul, the agent for LeBron James. The Bulls apparently gauged Chicago native Dwyane Wade‘s interest in a homecoming, too, but all the while, they seemed to prefer trading Boozer rather than amnestying him.

Chicago wound up with neither a superstar free agent nor a willing trade partner for Boozer, so notoriously thrifty owner Jerry Reinsdorf will be stuck paying him even though he’ll be playing elsewhere. Still, the robust market that developed for the 32-year-old power forward as soon as he hit waivers meant he wasn’t likely to hit free agency, and the Lakers end up relieving some of Reinsdorf’s obligation with their bid.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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