As has been the case each of the last two offseasons, one of the biggest questions facing the Chicago Bulls is what to do with Carlos Boozer? Ever since the lockout ended in November 2011, and the new CBA included the amnesty clause — giving teams the ability to wipe one player off their cap and their luxury tax bill — it’s been speculated that the Bulls should amnesty Boozer, who is derided for being inconsistent offensively and atrocious defensively and is paid in excess of $15 million a year.
Unfortunately, there are two stark realities standing in the way of such a move. One, as last summer plainly showed us, Jerry Reinsdorf is extremely averse to spending even one more dollar than he absolutely has to and is therefore unlikely to sign off on paying a player not to play for his team.** Second, there’s the fact that such a move serves no real purpose this offseason.
**It’s generally assumed that Reinsdorf tries to avoid spending money on the Bulls so he can pour money into the Chicago White Sox, which he also owns and generally loses money on. So there’s some ridiculous irony in his working so hard to avoid the luxury tax this season by deconstructing the Bulls’ Bench Mob, then paying it anyway while ALSO watching the White Sox move rapidly towards a fire sale at the trade deadline.
Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com — an excellent website which you should spend some time getting familiar with — went through team by team to figure out what kind of cap space might be available this summer. The Bulls, to precisely nobody’s surprise, are projected to be well over the cap this summer. But he specifically states that even if the Bulls amnesty Boozer and waive Rip Hamilton — which they will almost certainly do unless they find some way to trade him — they’ll still fall over the projected cap number for next season.
Could they trade Luol Deng to a team with cap space and then amnesty Boozer to get under the cap and get some decent cap room? Sure. But why would they do that? Who are they going to get that’s better than Boozer and Deng? Monta Ellis? No thanks.
So get used to the idea of having Boozer around for another year, guys. It’s not ideal, but it is what it is. If it makes you feel any better, speculation holds that the Bulls will look to amnesty Boozer in 2014, when Nikola Mirotic comes over, Deng’s contract expires and there might be some decent free agents. They’ll inevitably strike out if they try for said free agents, but still.