: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Boozer Amnestied: R.I.P. Legion Of Booz!

 Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

I have  a question for the Pippen Peoples out there. Have you felt like you know an event is about to happen but deep down you hope something would happen to stop it. Well that is how I felt about the Carlos Boozer amnesty situation. Oh I knew it was coming.

I knew it was coming when the Bulls lost in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

I knew it was coming in the press conference when Boozer’s name was never mentioned.

I knew it was coming when the Bulls tried to do a sign and trade for Carmelo Anthony. New York or anyone for that matter was going to take that contract.

I held out hope but it was officially over in my mind when Pau Gasol had agreed to terms over the weekend.

Believe  me Pippen Peoples, I was watching the calendar. Today was the deadline to amnesty Carlos Boozer. On Thursday if it hadn’t been done, the Legion Of Booz would  be back in business. Think about it. A full year of Chicago  Bulls fans fighting over Boozer’s play. The comments back and forth. The debates. It would  have been wonderful.

Now…it’s all over.

The Chicago Bulls have done an absolute overhaul of their frontline over the weekend. When Carmelo said no. They just went straight to “Plan B” which should have been the original plan in the first place.

They brought in Pau Gasol for three years and approximately 22 million dollars.

They brought in Nikola Mirotic from overseas for three years at 17 million. When I found out the Bulls could stretch out the payments. That was basically handing Mirotic a plane ticket. Think about this. The Bulls are STILL paying Rip Hamilton over stretched out payments. By the time the Bulls pay off Real Madrid, my grandkids will have kids…and I don’t have grandkids yet.

Couple these moves and Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson having their own parking spaces in the Bulls frontline starting lineup, Carlos Boozer and his contract had to go. Declining stats (some of it not his fault) and that albatross $16.8 million dollar contract made Boozer expendable. So the Bulls convinced Jerry Reinsdorf to pony up the money without having it count against their salary cap.

After the Bulls made the official announcement that they had used the amnesty clause to remove Carlos Boozer from the roster, he now enters a bidding process and can be picked up by the highest bidding team that has cap space. If a team DOES NOT have cap  space, they are not eligible.

Here’s how the bidding process works.

Any team that wants to bid for Boozer’s services will need to have roughly 1.5 million dollars to join the party. Teams submit  their bids without knowing what the others are offering. Whoever has the highest bid gets Carlos Boozer’s rights and pays that amount next season.

For example, let’s say the Charlotte Hornets (one of the teams that are reportedly interested) has a winning bid of two million dollars. The Hornets would pay two million dollars next year of the $16.8 million and the Bulls would be on the hook for the rest.

If nobody ends up bidding on Boozer, which I sincerely doubt, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent and can sign with any team. If that happens, look for Miami as a possible destination.

As the final order of business as the Executive Advocate of the Legion of Booz, I will start with a quote from the Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman.

” Carlos (Boozer) epitomized professionalism in everything he did for the Bulls both on the court, and in the community, during his time in Chicago. Over the last four seasons, Carlos’ productivity helped elevate our team to another level. I have nothing but respect for Carlos, and certainly wish him the best moving forward.”

Normally I would have a snide comment for a rubber stamped statement that is used for all employees that are leaving but he did sign the dude to a 75 million dollar deal after LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, me, you, them and everybody else turned the Bulls down in 2010.

I fully realize that some  fans are down at city hall right now trying to obtain a parade permit. But before you do, all of those that hated  on Carlos Boozer (and there were a ton of you) think about this for a minute.

Derrick Rose was the key to Carlos Boozer’s success.

Carlos Boozer was never a number one option. The Chicago Bulls just gave him first option money. He wasn’t the number one option in Utah when the Bulls signed the guy in the first place. Deron Williams was the first option. Plus Utah ran the famous Jerry Sloan pick and roll offense. When Derrick Rose went down with knee injuries…again, the Bulls offense ran a system that consisted of let me see…hopes, dreams and prayers. Carlos Boozer suffered offensively because of this.

Look I’ll be the first to admit that Booz did look kinda stupid after it was announced that he broke his right wrist “tripping over a bag at his house.” Not a good way of paying off a 75 million dollar investment the Bulls dropped at your feet, but Boozer did show up to play every night. He didn’t always play as much. But he did show up to play an average of 28 minutes a night. It’s just he always on the bench in the fourth quarter when the street lights came on.

Tom Thibodeau basically put his minutes on skid row when Boozer complained about his minutes (or lack thereof) in the fourth quarter around the trade deadline. After that Boozer had sealed his fate for next year. Thibodeau does not liked be called out in the media. Let me put it this way, in the deciding game in the first round of the playoffs, you noticed that Carlos Boozer got in the game AFTER Taj Gibson was carried off the floor. Trust me, Gibson probably almost broke his ankle. Because that was the only reason Boozer would ever get in the game in the first place.

The Legion of Booz was a success for Pippen Ain”t Easy because Carlos Boozer was a polarizing figure around Chicago. But the way he was criticized opens a lot of questions.

Everyone was ready to welcome Carmelo Anthony into the fold even though defense to Melo is taking the ball out after the opposing team scores. Everyone looked at his 27 points and would have been willing to overlook all of his defensive liabilities. Pau Gasol is definitely an upgrade over Boozer. No doubt about that. But if you are looking for staunch defense, I can come up with a renegade fan club for him too. He wasn’t the greatest defender when he was younger. Now at 34? Please.

What about Carlos Boozer?

We all know that Carlos Boozer’s line of defensive strategy went along the lines of “HELP JO! HELP!” But what is the difference? Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson’s back line of defense is so dominant that they collectively can clean up the mistakes of a lot of players. Kirk Hinrich anyone? They were so good that Boozer looked bad. Real bad. But that doesn’t mean that he didn’t bring assets to the table that the Bulls could have used better.

I want to give a shout out to Leroy Boyd. This couldn’t have worked without someone on the other side of a debate feeling just as passionate. This era of Pippen Ain’t Easy was a definite success and it was a lot of fun. I love to debate. This was an arena that brought a lot of opinions from a lot of people. That’s what this website is all about.

A moment of silence please…

R.I.P. Legion of Booz

July 15th, 2014.




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Tags: Carlos Boozer Chicago Bulls Gar Forman Joakim Noah NBA Free Agency Nikola Mirotic Pau Gasol Taj Gibson Tom Thibodeau

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