While it seems every move that every NBA team plans to make this summer has something to do with LeBron — from the Chris Paul trade rumors to (obviously) the Cavs’ coaching search to even the Clippers’ potential ownership change — one man who could greatly impact the Top-10 of tomorrow’s NBA Draft is Carlos Boozer.
The Utah Jazz pick 9th, and since it’s a foregone conclusion Boozer has no interest in re-signing there (the feeling might be mutual), a lot of mock drafts have the Jazz taking a power forward to replace Boozer as part of the 1-2 tandem at the four with Paul Millsap. Jerry Sloan likes a deep frontcourt, and with Millsap having been groomed to start, somebody like Ekpe Udoh, Ed Davis, Luke Babbitt or Patrick Patterson could wind up in Utah.
But before that, Booz may directly impact the New Jersey Nets, who have the 3rd pick. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Nets — who have so far seemed a lock to take either Derrick Favors or DeMarcus Cousins to shore up the power forward position — are seriously considering taking Syracuse small forward Wes Johnson. Why? Because Johnson and Boozer have the same agent, Rob Pelinka, and by doing Pelinka a solid by drafting Johnson, the Nets would conceivably put themselves at the front of the line to sign Boozer this summer.
After that? The Minnesota Timberwolves had appeared all set to take Johnson should he be available at No. 4, but if he’s not, would they still take Favors, Cousins, or any big man when they’ve already got Al Jefferson and Kevin Love on the front line? Does that mean Favors could slip to Sacramento with the 5th pick, increasing the chances that Detroit (7th) gets the guy they reportedly like the most in Cousins?
If there was a way to guarantee Boozer by taking Johnson, I’d say that’s the right move for the Nets. True, they just picked Terrence Williams last year as the SF of the future, but there’s nothing wrong with having T-Will and Wes on the roster and one of them coming off the bench. Good teams do have depth, and T-Will in particular I could see being a Sixth Man of the Year candidate in a few years as an explosive energy guy off the bench. Meanwhile, N.J. would benefit from a playoff-experienced vet like Boozer at the four next to Brook Lopez making a more immediate impact than a rookie project like Favors or Cousins.
If you’re running the Nets, do you draft Wes Johnson to get Carlos Boozer?