Overpaid. A pain. The problem. These are all way Bulls fans have described Carlos Boozer during his duration in Chicago. Ever since the former Cavaliers and Jazz forward has made nothing enemies during his time in Chicago and the major gripe people have with him is he’s getting payed $75 million to do so.
But Boozer’s biggest offense has been his lack thereof in the postseason. Last year he played Houdini and disappeared when the Bulls needed him. This year he teased us, making it look as though he’d step up but he instead merely waited until the last second to bail out on Chicago.
Boozer’s fourth quarter non-factor status has some fans enraged and just about everyone calling for him to be amnestied this offseason.
“I just missed [shots],” Boozer said. “Some nights are like that. Some night you’re on fire, some nights you’re not. Tonight I wasn’t.”
How the amnesty clause works is any team can waive one player with a contract the team views as bad. Boozer would hit the waiver wire and at that point any team that is under the cap can sign him at a reduced price. The catch for Chicago is this: it Boozer is claimed then the Bulls need to pay the majority of Boozer’s deal which still has roughly $47 million left on his backloaded contract he signed after 2010.
The Bulls signed Boozer after missing out on LeBron James (whom Derrick Rose was very uninterested in recruiting) among other big free agent targets that year. Boozer was meant o satisfy Bulls fans who were hot on the idea of James joining the Bulls and it worked for about a minute.
During his time here Boozer has constantly been blasted for his spotty play and lack of postseason dominance. After having what seemed like a respectable series up to this point, Boozer flamed out in the second half of the fatal Game 6, and was benched for the final minutes as the Bulls helplessly watched as Philadelphia’s Andre Igiodala nailed two free throws to give the 76ers an edge.
If the Bulls do amnesty Boozer they may be better off. For starters, no one is going to want to pay Boozer anything form his remaining contract, even if Chicago picks up a majority of the bill. Even if he is claimed his money will be off the books as a claimed player who has been amnestied no longer has their contract count against the salary cap or towards the luxury tax.
This would free up significant money for the Bulls to take care of some contracts this offseason. Omer Asik’s contract is up and the Bulls have a $2.3 million qualifying offer on him. Teams can make offers to Asik but he’s a restricted free agent so the Bulls can match whatever offer is made.
But more impotently, Taj Gibson — the guy who would replace Boozer in the lineup– is a restricted free agent after next year and Chicago has a $3.1 million qualifying offer. Gibson remains a restricted free agent in 2014 and the Bulls can use their money to lock him up. Gibson would surely command top dollar if he hit the market.
The biggest thing the Bulls can do with Boozer’s money is go out and fins a shooting guard to compliment Rose and become the Bulls No.2 scorer. Rip Hamilton hasn’t been the answer and he may end up being cut after next year. Hamilton can’t be amnesty since he was signed after the 2011 season and the rule only apples to players inked before then.
It’s not a terribly talented pool of shooting guards but it’s filled with guys that could get the job done. Potential free agent guard targets for the Bulls include J.R. Smith, Mickael Pietrus, Shannon Brown and Nick Young among other options.
An option the Bulls may want to run is a dual point guard rotation not unlike the kind other teams run. This would be the equivalent of NFL teams having to running back come out of the backfield ala Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams for the Carolina Panthers. The upside of this would also be that the Bulls could have a bonafide backup point guard moving forward.
Some potential point guard targets, should the Bulls consider this option, include Steve Nash, Andre Miller, Kirk Hinrich, Leandro Barbosa, Derek Fischer and Gilbert Arenas among others.
But the bottom line is if Carlos Boozer wanted to make friends and prove he should be eating this team’s money he didn’t make a very good case in Game 6 or really at all this season.
The loss of Derrick Rose threw a lot of people off on this team but Boozer’s issues aren’t new and for a guy getting paid $75 million you don’t get to use Derrick Rose being out as an excuse.
We may have seen the end of Carlos Boozer in Chicago.