You might think that all the weird things had all already happened this free agency period in the NBA. LeBron went back to Cleveland and his legacy. Carmelo took the money in New York and his legacy. The Houston Rockets dumped Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin with no visible payoff at the moment (Eric Bledsoe, it’s your time to disappoint Houston now).
Yet the strangest thing to happen this NBA off-season has to be the journey of former Duke Blue Devil Carlos Boozer, who was amnestied by the Chicago Bulls. For every other player who has been amnestied, this has meant that they were paid the remaining money on their contract by their old team and then became essentially free agents.
There is actually one more step that an amnestied player has to cross. Ordinarily a recently cut player would go through waivers where he could be claimed by another team on the basis of his current contract. An amnestied player actually goes through an auction process where teams submit bids and the high bid wins. The amount of the bid is paid by the new team and is subtracted from the total owed the amnestied player by the old team.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, the Los Angeles Lakers have won the Carlos Boozer amnesty auction. Their winning bid was in the neighborhood of $2.3 million dollars, so that Chicago is on the hook for only $13.5 million of the approximately $16 million that they owed Boozer.
Boozer likely did not want to be claimed in this auction so that he could negotiate a new deal with a team of his choosing, but the Lakers are looking for pieces and this saves them some money without making a big commitment to Boozer, who will be a free agent next year.
Boozer puts yet another power forward on the Lakers roster next to first round pick Julius Randle, Jordan Hill, and recent signee Ed Davis. Boozer has a better resume than any of them, but limited ability to play and much less defend the center spot. It will be interesting watching the Lakers figure out what to do with their hastily built roster.