According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, that appears to be the case as the two teams have discussed swapping Carlos Boozer for Andrea Bargnani.
From a Raptors point of view, acquiring Boozer is certainly something worth considering despite his large contract. Both players have two years remaining on their contracts after this season with Boozer making $15 million while Bargnani’s contract is at $10 million per.
Obviously, more players would need to be included in the deal in order to match salaries but that is easily taken care of with Toronto throwing in Linas Kleiza and his $4.6 million contract into the trade. Who knows if the Bulls would be interested in Kleiza but the Raptors certainly have the pieces to make the trade happen.
A major factor before any deal could be made is that acquiring Boozer would put Toronto into the luxury tax which is something no team not making the playoffs wants. General manager Bryan Colangelo would have think long and hard if Boozer is the missing piece to put the Raptors into the playoffs in future seasons, given the fact they won’t be making them this year. Colangelo admitted after the Rudy Gay trade that entering the luxury tax isn’t something he fears as long as it’s the right deal.
Would Boozer be the right deal?
At $15 million a season, he’s overpaid but isn’t having a bad season by any means as he’s averaging 15.7 points and 9.6 rebounds. He’s played well this season as the Bulls try to hold the fort waiting for Derrick Rose to return but he doesn’t come without baggage. At times in his career he’s been labeled as lazy and his defense has been questionable, sound familiar? However, he does rebound and is an effective scorer so the risk might be worth it. At the very least Raptor fans wouldn’t have to worry about him torching the team for 36 points and 12 rebounds like he did on Jan. 16.
At this point, most Raptor fans would take whatever they could get for Bargnani and Boozer’s addition to the lineup would certainly help the team. Having a starting five of Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Gay, Boozer and Jonas Valanciunas moving forward would be one of the best the team has had in years.
Chicago’s interest in the deal would be shedding salary and the belief Bargnani would be a better pick and roll player for Rose. Also, Bargnani’s three-point shooting would help out the poor three-point shooting Bulls roster.
It’d be a risk for Colangelo to take but given the money he absorbed with the Gay deal, it’s looking like he’s prepared to go all in. Acquiring Boozer would certainly be moving all his chips into the middle of the table.