With the NBA’s free agency period nearly here, a decision needs to be made on the future of Carlos Boozer with the Chicago Bulls organization. Boozer, currently having one more year on his five-year, $90 million contract, is likely to be heading somewhere else this offseason with the Bulls needing to create cap room for a potential splash signing this summer.
Although the Bulls have been shopping Boozer over the past month, management will need to make a decision on his status with the team before July 1. If Boozer is still on the books when fielding meetings with Carmelo Anthony or possibly LeBron James, money may become more of a factor than the Bulls would like.
The most likely scenario over the next 48 hours is that the Bulls will use their amnesty option on Boozer. This would allow for a $16.8 million cap hit to be available next season, which the team can use to bring in a big-name free agent. Boozer would get a fresh start with a new team, and the Bulls would get a chance to become the next NBA championship contender.
Although Boozer made a name for himself when he was playing with the Utah Jazz (2004-2010), he was never able to live up to expectations in Chicago. His first two seasons with the Bulls were dramatically better than his last, and both were with Vinny Del Negro as the head coach.
Once defensive-minded coach Tom Thibodeau was brought in, his productivity and playing time dwindled — so much so that during the 2014 NBA Playoffs, Boozer barely saw any floor time during the second and fourth quarters of games. That reason alone is enough for the Bulls to part ways with him this summer.
On a positive note, Boozer has multiple potential suitors this offseason, including the Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, or maybe even a return to Cleveland Cavaliers (he was drafted by Cavs in 2002). Basically any team that is offense-first will have interest in Boozer. If Mike D’Antoni was still coaching, the two would be a perfect match.