On Wednesday, ESPN reported the Chicago Bulls may try to trade veteran power forward Carlos Boozer before using their amnesty option on him this summer.
It has been long speculated that the Bulls would outright amnesty the final $15 million left on Boozer’s contract. However, the Bulls team owner Jerry Reinsdorf dislikes the idea of paying Boozer to play on another team. Instead, Reinsdorf would like the Bulls to trade their forward in hopes of not having to pay him.
It comes at no surprise that Reinsdorf, well known for not wanting to overspend and go over the salary-cap luxury tax, would try his best to save a few bucks by not paying Boozer. However, trading Boozer with the chance of getting something in return is a wise move, rather than lose him for nothing. A team such as the Los Angeles Lakers, for example, could be a good home for Boozer if they lose Pau Gasol to free agency, and miss out on signing any big names this summer.
Boozer signed a five-year, $75 million contract in the summer of 2010. The signing was considered a consolation prize for the Bulls striking out on bigger name free agents such as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. During the 2014-15 season, Boozer averaged 13 points and eight rebounds with the Bulls in 28 minutes of play — all are career-lows since his rookie season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It’s not unheard of for teams to take on the expiring contracts of veterans. Last season, the Utah Jazz took on the contracts of Golden State Warriors players Richard Jefferson, Brandon Rush, and Andris Biedrins. Golden State, of course, had to sweeten the pot by trading away several draft picks to the Jazz as well. That move allowed the Warriors to free enough salary to acquire Andre Iguodala in a sign-and-trade with the Denver Nuggets.
So, If Boozer does get traded, there is also a good chance the Bulls would have to ship away future draft picks as compensation — similar to what the Warriors did last year. Either way, it would be a small price to pay for not having the Bulls give Boozer his $15 million to play for another team. A trade would also ensure that the Bulls get to choose where Boozer goes. That means he can’t just sign with another contender in the same conference.
Although it is too early to say that Boozer will be gone, it certainly seems as if he has played his final game as a member of Bulls.