Carlos Boozer was officially amnestied yesterday, confirming what’s been expected for about a year now.
Of course the Bulls tried to deal Booz and his mind-bottling contract in a sign and trade; but the Knicks finally have someone in the front office who knows what the hell he’s doing. I guess the Lakers do too.
Boozer is well known for his subpar defensive efforts, a streaky jumper, weird-ass hair and…yelling. I had no idea that Carlos Boozer was the loudest player in the NBA when he was in Cleveland and Utah.
It didn’t take long to notice the on-court mics picking up his primal yell after he joined the Bulls, and its absolutely hilarious. Like by far the best thing Carlos can do is yell. I guess if you can’t guard someone to save your life then naturally you just yell a lot to change things up a bit.
Guy is a total clown.
Yelling also became the best thing about Carlos Boozer by the end of his run with the Bulls. To honor Chuck on his way out of town, here’s a little sample from their game against the Lakers last year when ABC caught three vintage Boozer moments.
As long as you yell at Joakim Noah to do something, then you’ve done your job.
This year’s NBA free agent class is one of the most collectively sought after since…well the last time these contracts were up and teams were in the market for high caliber scoring and productivity. Plenty of teams this summer will be looking to make moves that put themselves in contention both next year and the near future. The Bulls are no exception. Continue reading →
The loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday further cemented the fact that in order to make themselves legitimate title contenders, the Bulls are in dire need of a second scorer to pair with Derrick Rose next year (assuming he stays healthy, a huge “if” at this point). Several options are set to be available via free agency in the summer of 2014, most notably LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.
And with the Zen Master Phil Jackson taking over as President of the New York Knicks this week, the odds of Melo leaving them took a serious hit. While it’s still a possibility, I’m moving away from that fantasy for now.
What about Chris Bosh?
Rick Bucher reported that Bosh is on the short list of free agents that the Bulls are planning to make a major run for this summer.
Although I think that all of these reports are completely full of shit, I really like entertaining ideas like this.
So, the question remains: should the Bulls go after Chris Bosh again after failing in 2010?
Bosh would fit perfectly as a pick and roll partner with Rose, and as a “Stretch 4” next to Noah (remember that for this scenario to happen, Boozer will have to be amnestied). Bosh’s game has evolved nicely since becoming third wheel in Miami. Once a beast on the low block, he has turned into one of the best mid-range shooters in basketball and an excellent 3-point shooter (37.4% this year). In fact, Bosh right now is on pace for a career high in effective field goal percentage.
Although it has been commonplace to state that the Bulls need a scoring guard to pair with Rose (Lance Stephenson?), Bosh would absolutely suffice.
So, why would Bosh pick Chicago?
The Bulls have been one of the Heat’s biggest rivals since Bosh joined Miami in 2010, as Miami has knocked Chicago out of the playoffs in three out of his four years.
Why would he switch to the losing side? Maybe he’s sick of being third wheel. Who the fuck knows.
What I do know is that for this to even be considered a possibility in my mind, LeBron James has to leave the Heat.
Personally, I don’t see LeBron going anywhere. If he stays, why would Bosh want to compete against him in the Eastern Conference? Not happening. If LeBron leaves, Bosh’s hometown Dallas Mavericks seem like the logical landing spot. In Dallas he could easily average 23-10 like his old days in Toronto, get to play at home, and give Mark Cuban a transition star as Dirk is fading out of his prime. The only issue with this scenario is that even with Bosh, I don’t see Dallas as a legit contender in the Western Conference, let alone in the whole NBA.
The bottom line is this: adding Bosh, a healthy Rose, and subtracting Boozer elevates the Bulls to championship contention, so Chicago fans should be hoping that this happens.
For those familiar with fortune cookies and clichés, you know that ‘crisis’ and ‘opportunity’ share the same word in Chinese. And as the Bulls deal with their latest superstar crisis, they’ve also been given an opportunity to take a step back, and reconsider the direction of the franchise.
Earlier in the week, I used the phrase “blessing-in-disguise” to reference the recently infamous Derrick Rose injury, but after some time (and a few hundred D-Rose YouTube videos), my tune changed just a bit.
Losing Rose isn’t a blessing, it’s a major setback. But it’s also an opportunity.
An opportunity to consider the long-term future of the Chicago Bulls, without Rose-colored glasses.
Even with a healthy Rose, there wasn’t any evidence to suggest that the Bulls could knock off the Heat in the playoffs. As currently constructed, this Bulls team probably doesn’t ever bypass the Heat, They would be forced to play second fiddle to LeBron in the same way that Karl Malone and John Stockton did to Michael Jordan. With Rose out for another season, it’s time to try again, and that means making some significant moves.
The word ‘rebuild’ is a dirty word, and it’s also not a fitting one in the Bulls’ case. Instead, Chicago needs to use Rose’s latest injury as an opportunity to ‘retool’ their roster.
It’s time to stop considering short-term success, and view the long term. Rose is only 25, and if he can stay healthy, he will still be able to play at a high level for the next 7-10 years. There isn’t a huge rush to put together a title contender the way Brooklyn tried to this summer (a string of moves that is starting to look like a Hindenburg of an offseason). Because to build a contender in today’s NBA, you need a stockpiling of assets, carved-out cap space, and a lot of patience.
So, time for some brutal reality. Cancel your plans for a party in Grant Park the next few years (unless its for the Blackhawks). The Bulls are going to need to take a few steps back, in order to take a leap forward.
The first step? Dealing Luol Deng in the near future.
Deng has been the Bulls’ rock since he arrived, but he doesn’t fit in the big picture anymore – so dealing him for something in return is just an obvious move at this point. Cleveland has repeatedly come up as a landing spot, with the Cavs dangling shooting guard Dion Waiters as a potential piece of the deal. Waiters is a young guard who can score at a very high volume, something the Bulls are craving. Regardless of the trade partner, I’d plan on Deng wearing a different uniform by the New Year.
The Deng trade will be the major move this season, and afterwards other smaller steps begin. Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson are given the keys to the car for the rest of the season. If the Bulls are going to commit big money to those two (and in Gibson’s case, they already have) Butler and Gibson have to prove that they are both high-level NBA players. Rookie Tony Snell has already started to get some minutes in Rose’s absence, and will continue to play a lot in the hopes that the Bulls have another piece moving forward.
But next summer is where things get interesting. There have been pleas for the Bulls to use the amnesty clause on Carlos Boozer, and it would appear that those pleas will finally be answered in the offseason. It makes sense to cut costs at this point, even though paying a player to play for another team is dicey, especially one that is still somewhat productive. But it makes sense financially to part ways with Boozer, especially for the Bulls to carve out cap space.
Stockpiling assets. The 2014 NBA Draft is lining up to be one of the best in recent memory, and everyone wants a piece of it – especially the Bulls. If they want to get into the lottery, they certainly have the assets to put together a package that will get them there. Joakim Noah will be available this offseason (he shares the same competitive window incompatibility as Deng), as well as Gibson if the price is right. The Bulls also have the rights to Nikola Mirotic, the attractive Bobcats draft pick (and their own pick).
That brings us to the final aspect of the retool, patience. The Houston Rockets are the shining example of this three-pronged approached to building a team. They made room under the cap for Dwight Howard, and had the assets to trade for James Harden. But most of all, the Rockets had patience. They waited for the right moment.
Dropping Deng and Boozer will provide some cap relief, but that means nothing if they make another mistake in the free agent market by giving maximum pay to a player who isn’t worth (aka Carlos Boozer).
You’ll hear calls for Carmelo Anthony this summer, but the Bulls should want no part of Melo’. The Nuggets are just as good, if not better without him – and the Knicks are clearly regressing as Anthony chucks up over thirty shots a game. Kevin Love and Marc Gasol are available in 2015; and they’d look good in red, right?
But just because they have the assets to make a big splash, doesn’t mean that they have to immediately. If they are able to bide their time and wait for the right player or draft pick to become available, then they are set up for long term success.
Derrick Rose’s latest injury isn’t a blessing in disguise, but it’s not a death sentence either. The Chicago Bulls ‘retool’ won’t be enjoyable, but it is an undeniable opportunity for the Bulls to change course, learn from past mistakes, and finally emerge as a team equipped to win a championship.