The Bulls had one of the leagues best young talents in Derrick Rose who seemed to be destined for success. Chicago also had a ton of free cap space that they were planning on using to bring in a star free agent to play alongside Rose. With a solid nucleus of Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah, along with a lot of money to spend on big time free agents, the Bulls seemed destined to become a top tier team in the Eastern Conference.
2010 was also one of the best free agent markets in NBA history. There were several franchise players that the Chicago Bulls were trying to recruit. The star studded free agent class was headlined by LeBron James, but also included star players such as Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amar’e Stoudemire, Dirk Nowitzki and Carlos Boozer. The Chicago Bulls and their fans were hoping that they could land at least one of those players to help turn their team into an immediate contender. Chicago was able to land former Utah Jazz power forward Carlos Boozer.
The Bulls were hoping that Boozer would be someone that they could count on to score 20 points a game just like he had done in Utah. However, since coming to Chicago Boozer has failed to live up to expectations and has been known more for his defensive struggles than his ability to score.
It has been a slippery slope for Boozer ever since he joined the Bulls as he missed the teams first 15 games in 2010 after breaking his hand before the season even started. Boozer’s injury prior to the start of the 2010-11 season was just one of many bumps in the road since Boozer has joined Chicago.
Whether it is disappearing in the playoffs when his team needs him most or getting benched in the fourth quarter on a consistent basis because of his defensive struggles, Boozer has just not been able to get the job done since he has been in Chicago. Yes, the Bulls have turned into one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference since that summer of 2010, but it is hard to say whether or not Boozer has had much to do with that.
Since Boozer has not been able to live up to the expectations and fulfill Chicago’s need of a dominant scorer on a nightly basis, many believe that Chicago should amnesty Boozer after this year. There have been talks about amnestying Boozer for quite some time in Chicago now and with the summer of 2014 (when the Bulls can amnesty Boozer if they decide to) not too far away, Boozer has just one season left to prove that he can help get Chicago over the hump.
If Boozer cannot help Chicago get past the Miami Heat and into the NBA Finals this year, it may be time for Chicago to seriously consider going a different route. Boozer has one last season in Chicago to prove that he has what it takes to be successful in coach Tom Thibodeau’s system and can help Chicago get to where it wants to be. However, if Boozer continues to be a defensive liability, lose playing time in the fourth quarter to backup Taj Gibson and disappear in big games, it may be time for Chicago to cut its ties with Boozer.