Last year Carlos Boozer was had to stomach of the Bulls and their fans. He missed a lot of the season and in most games his performances were less than stellar.
But this year Boozer knew his job was the line and stepped it up to become the Bulls’ most durable player this season. Knowing his shaky track record with injuries, it was a remarkable accomplishment that he was able to play in every single game this year. His scores before the All-Star break showed that he averaged 35 games played, 30.1 minutes, 15.8 points and an impressive 9 rebounds despite his many flaws especially on the defensive end. One of his shining moments this season came when Boozer played one of his best games as a Bull. He scored 23 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists on February 16th in leading the Rose-less Bulls to a win over the Boston Celtics. This gave everyone a small ray of light that he could step up and led the team with its star player out of commission. But just as fast as that light came it was blown out just as quickly.
Boozer had a great show before the All-Star Break, but the problem he has is with big games. Like the decisive Game 6 against the Philadelphia 76ers, Boozer did not play well. He was 1 for 11 from the field and had 3 points. That offensive output was even harsher considering the Bulls were playing without Derrick Rose who was out with a torn ACL and Joakim Noah who was out with a sprained ankle. But his supporters and there aren’t many left now and days, will argue that in Game 6 he had 13 rebounds. He also averaged 31 games played, 28.9 minutes and 14.2 minutes. Which is fine, but that doesn’t excuse Boozer did for not producing offensively when the Bulls needed him most.
When he was signed Boozer was suppose to be someone who could be the type of difference maker who would be the second offensive option on a championship caliber team. But for now the Bulls are more than likely going to stick with him leaving many Bulls fan with a sour taste in their mouth. They and even the management know that he has not played up to the $80 million contract. Many sports watchers want the Bulls to give him amnesty this summer, but like I said they probably won’t. Because that wouldn’t make much difference as far as the Bulls’ ability to add another difference maker goes. And Bulls management believes for one reason or another that they will need Boozer’s offense more than ever next season with Rose and Luol Deng expected to miss big chunks of time. Not to mention giving Boozer amnesty does not mean that the Bulls could sign another player to fit into his $15-16 million annual salary slot. They’d be over their salary cap and would only be able to use a midlevel exception or a minimum salary exception to sign free agents. So far now it is easier to go with what they know and save some money. Hopefully next year Boozer can come through for the Bulls so this conversation can be different.
Final Grade: D+