Kobe Bryant has a new candidate for a best friend.
After losing Pau Gasol to the Chicago Bulls earlier this month, the Los Angeles Lakers got the man Gasol took minutes from with the Bulls.
Carlos Boozer is reportedly headed to Los Angeles, after the Lakers put in the top bid on the former all-star forward, who was amnestied by Chicago.
The Lakers made the highest bid on a portion of the $16.8 million contract Chicago owed Boozer this coming season.
Elsewhere in the NBA
How does this help L.A.?
With the acquisition of Boozer, the Lakers replace the production of the departed Pau Gasol. Last season Gasol averaged nearly 17 points and 10 rebounds per game, and While Boozer averaged about 14 points and eight boards per game, the return of Kobe Bryant to the lineup following a knee injury that kept him out most of the year, will ease the scoring burden on Boozer.
Also, Los Angeles is reportedly trying to load up on salary cap space again for next summer, after LeBron James signed a two-year deal with an opt-out after the first season, and the pending free agency of former UCLA star Kevin Love
The end of free agency
With Gasol and Boozer off the market, the top free agent remaining is Eric Bledsoe, who played with the Phoenix Suns last season.
The Lakers have interest, and have reportedly been in contact with Bledsoe, who had his best season last year averaging nearly 18 points, six assists, and five rebounds per game on 48% from the floor.
Bledsoe would be brought in to take some of the ball handling duties from the aging Steve Nash, and the returning Bryant, and help Kobe and Boozer with the scoring load.