Boozer excited to land in Chicago
Sam Smith: Bulls and Boozer agree to five-year deal
When Carlos Boozer met with the Bulls’ brass at the United Center on the first day of free agency July 1, he made it clear that Chicago was his first choice if he decided to leave the Utah Jazz.
On Wednesday, one day prior to when teams could officially start signing players to contracts, Boozer backed up his words, reportedly agreeing to a five-year deal with the Bulls worth approximately $75 million.
Appearing on ESPN Radio 1000 Thursday morning, Boozer talked at length about his decision process that landed him in Chicago.
“Seeing how buttoned up they are, how professional they are, how much they want to win and how committed they are,” Boozer said of what sold him on the Bulls following his meeting with Jerry Reinsdorf, John Paxson, Gar Forman and Tom Thibodeau. “Obviously the nucleus of having Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng, a huge part of the team is already intact. It’s a good, young core of stars to play with. Having a chance to win a championship right away was very appealing.”
Boozer said that the Bulls’ presentation was led by Paxson and Forman, but added that Reinsdorf was very “hands on.” Following the meeting in the United Center’s Harris Club on Thursday, he and his agent also meet with the team on Friday for breakfast. By that point, Boozer was convinced the Bulls were the right fit for him.
On Thursday, he spoke highly of the team’s new coach.
“Tom Thibodeau has an incredible plan in place,” Boozer told ESPN 1000. “It’s built around defense and that’s going to be our staple. We have some great talent. If we work together, be unselfish, and work our butts off, we can be really good.”
The Boozer agreement couldn’t have come at a better time for the Bulls, who learned earlier in the day that Dwyane Wade decided to stay in Miami, where Chris Bosh will join him. The prize of the 2010 free agency class, LeBron James, will announce his decision Thursday night at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN. Boozer confirmed that he has reached out to James via text message since agreeing to terms with the Bulls.
“I’m hearing the reports about him going down to South Beach, but hopefully we can sway his opinion and get him up [to Chicago],” said Boozer. “I told him with DRose at the one, him at the two, Luol at the three, me at the four and Joakim at the five, we could be one of the best teams of all-time. But he has to make his own decision.”
With or without LeBron, Boozer’s Bulls will have more work to do this offseason. Shooting guard is one position that will need to be addressed, and Boozer offered his thoughts on some candidates.
“Kyle [Korver] can shoot the heck out of the ball,” he said. “He’s 6-7, 6-8 and can really shoot the ball. In practice, he doesn’t miss many shots. In games, when he’s on, he’s as good as anybody. I also like Mike Miller a lot. I think he’s a very versatile two/three guy and he has the same size. He dribbles the ball well and moves around. He’s a playmaker. I also like Ronnie Brewer. He plays defense, rebounds and is athletic. He gets out there and can defend the other team’s best player on offense.
“Gar and Pax know what they’re doing,” Boozer added. “They’re going to put together the best pieces for our team to be successful.”