Report: Bulls and Boozer agree to five-year deal
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The Bulls do not look like they’re getting LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh.
However, they are going to come out of free agency with at least an All-Star power forward.
Sources have confirmed the Bulls have reached an agreement with Carlos Boozer on a five-year contract worth about $75 million.
Deals cannot be made official until Thursday. It should be a boost for the Bulls, who were on the verge of being shut out in the free agency musical chairs as Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh announced Wednesday they were pairing up in Miami.
LeBron James is set to announce his plans Thursday in a prime time address on ESPN. The speculation has been he’ll return to Cleveland. There were rumors Wednesday James might go to Miami or New York, though both seem like long shots, as in Miami James would not be the so-called “Man,” and in New York, the roster doesn’t seem made for seriously competing.
But don’t count out LeBron for the Bulls quite yet.
The addition of Boozer to Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng appears to put the Bulls in position to be on a competitive footing with anyone else in the Eastern Conference, if not as glamorous a fit.
Boozer averaged 19.5 points and 11.2 rebounds last season and has career averages of 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds. Paired with Noah, a player who does not need the ball, the Bulls could have two double-double inside players to go along with the young All-Star Rose.
Plus, Taj Gibson can fit in as a swingman up front to complement Deng. With the remaining money in free agency, the Bulls could add a shooting guard like Mike Miller, J.J. Redick, Wesley Matthews, Ronnie Brewer, or Ray Allen, perhaps.
Though let’s not move on from LeBron quote yet.
Sources say the Bulls have not given up on the possibility of attracting James, who is not apparently fully set on his decision.
With Bosh and Wade teaming up in Miami, now that the Bulls have Boozer, the Bulls can make the strong case they have ample cap room to pay James a full max salary for five years and he can join Rose, Deng, Boozer, Gibson and Noah, a far stronger roster than anyone else can put on the court now.
If James truly wants to play for a winner, can he make a better case now with the addition of a tough forward in Boozer that he won’t be better off in Chicago than anywhere else.
It will further make Thursday’s TV viewing that much more interesting, which maybe what this is all about.
Still, it’s a good start for the Bulls, after all seemed lost with Wade’s return and indications James was no longer considering the Bulls.
Boozer is a terrific pick-and-roll player and has been masterful running that play with Deron Williams. It finally gives Rose a big man who requires a double and can make a jumper.
He would space the court well for Noah, clearly a solid fit.
So why wasn’t Boozer thought of more seriously?
He had three injury plagued seasons in his six with the Utah Jazz. He also feuded with Jazz management the last few seasons on and off over his desire to be a free agent. He was going to leave last summer, but opted to remain after the Pistons did not pursue him strongly.
Also, he’ll be 29 to open this season in November, older than the other top free agents. So there were questions about his durability. But Boozer played 78 games last season and was among the league leaders shooting 56.2 percent.
Now, it should get even more interesting.