After being rumored for months, the Chicago Bulls have finally used the amnesty clause to rid themselves of Carlos Boozer and the $16.8 million he was owed this season. The move was inevitable in order to create the cap space necessary to sign Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic.
The transaction was officially reported today by CBSsports.com and reminds us of how just four years ago, the signing of Boozer was seen as one that brought the Bulls closer to a championship. Now, they are paying him to disappear.
After missing on all the big free agents back in 2010, the Bulls turned their attention to Boozer, who was a member of the Utah Jazz at the time and thought they were finally acquiring the low-post presence they had been lacking for years. Unfortunately for Chicago, in NBA free agency, what you see is not always what you get.
Boozer averaged 19.5 PPG and 11.5 rebounds per game in his final season with the Jazz, but would never come close to matching those numbers in Chicago. During his first season, the former second-round pick played in only 59 games, averaging 17.5 PPG and 9.6 rebounds per game, which were solid numbers, but as each season wore on, they would only get worse.
The more Boozer played, the more he looked like a broken down shell of himself. He was not the dominant interior scorer the Bulls needed and hoped he could be. As time wore on, his defensive inadequacies became even harder and hard to cover up, leading Taj Gibson to come on and finish games at power forward because Boozer simply could not score as a high enough level to counteract his porous defense.
During his tenure in Chicago, the Bulls won better than 65 percent of their games and finished with 205 victories. Yet, the team reached the Eastern Conference Finals just once and won just three playoff series in his four seasons.
Don’t get me wrong, Boozer can still score and may be able to help a team next season, but as the Bulls learned during their failed four-year experiment, if you try to make him a star — something he is not — he will fail miserably.