Boozer’s ‘Teflon’ makes him fan target

CHICAGO – Carlos Boozer talked Thursday night and again Friday about how long the Chicago Bulls’ offseason would be, given their early exit from the 2012 NBA playoffs.

Boozer’s will be a little longer, though, than most of his teammates’, thanks to his head start.

Boozer, the Bulls’ polarizing power forward, was done 16 minutes before the rest of his team, watching from the bench as Game 6 against the Philadelphia 76ers was decided Thursday night at Wells Fargo Center. It was the second straight elimination game in which Boozer spectated through crunch time: he sat out the final 14:24 of his team’s 83-80 defeat in Game 5 against Miami last May, finishing with five points on 1-of-6 shooting and six rebounds.

This time, Boozer scored three points and missed 10 of his 11 field-goal attempts. Some nights shots clang off, sure, but logging only 27:10 on a night when the team’s two best players, point guard Derrick Rose and center Joakim Noah, weren’t available? While coach Tom Thibodeau was grinding the other starters down in the second half? After playing 26:13 as the Heat bounced them a year ago?

Oh yeah, that’s what you want from the highest paid player on your team ($13.5 million salary in 2011-12) and the guy signed to that $75 million free agent deal in 2010 to be Chicago’s No. 2 offensive threat.

“Obviously there’s a lot of shouda, coulda, wouldas,” Boozer said when he spoke with reporters at the Berto Center practice facility Friday in the northwest suburbs. “Every team goes through that when you lose. We were dinged up this year. We were like a car missing a few parts at the end of the season, but we were still ticking and going and fighting.”

Sounds reasonable, even mature, right? That’s part of what drives so many Bulls fans nuts with Boozer, a fellow who seems to shrug off setbacks way more easily than the folks who root for the team and die a little inside when things go badly. In that sense, Boozer is a professional professional athlete, someone who shows up, plays his game and – from all outward appearances, anyway – goes home and cashes his paycheck without getting too worked up one way or another.

There are a lot of those types across all sports. There’s one on Chicago’s north side – outfielder Alfonso Soriano of the Cubs, who also seems unaffected by fans’ frustrations with him over a fat contract, limited trade value and spotty production. Boozer, 30, has three years and more than $47 million left on his deal.

He has lost lift, has trouble finishing at the rim, rarely goes strong from the low-post in ways that would complement his strong mid-range game and is a mediocre-to-poor defender. He also trades in showy emotions – shouting “And one!” after his buckets, letting loose with primal screams – but doesn’t seem bothered at all when he comes up small in the most crucial times.

It has made him a target for United Center boo birds – who get shrugged off, too, as fans shouting “Booz!” Boozer gets criticized constantly on Chicago sports-talk radio, and plenty of folks are rooting for Bulls management to amnesty him, eat the balance of his fat contract and commit full-time to Taj Gibson by the start of next season.

Is that fair to Boozer? He has been for Chicago the same player he was in Cleveland and Utah: a bit undersized, more bark than bite in style, a reliable defensive rebounder. His stats pro-rated to 36 minutes have been consistent, down this season (18.3 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 53.2 percent shooting) only slightly from his personal bests in 2006-07 (21.8, 12.2, 56.1).

During a Bulls home game late in the regular season, a member of the Jazz staff during Boozer’s time in Salt Lake City said the biggest difference in Boozer then and now was that, “We ran our offense through him.” With Chicago, Boozer has had to adjust and defer at times to Rose, Luol Deng and, this season, Richard Hamilton.

So maybe the on-court production isn’t all Boozer’s fault. But submitting so compliantly to Thibodeau’s benchings at key times is; no one wants to see Boozer raise a ruckus with the coach but getting a little grumpy at his own self wouldn’t hurt. Yet it doesn’t happen. Boozer’s Teflon coating remains impenetrable.

“They’re all tough [offseasons] when you lose,” Boozer said on the day of exit interviews with GM Gar Forman. “I haven’t won a championship yet. All 10 years have been tough in the offseason. But we’ll get healthy and we’ll be back and we’ll be very good and very hungry and hopefully we can stay healthy. Would you guys love to see us at full strength and completely healthy when the playoffs start. We haven’t had that yet.”

Boozer added: “”I’m still formulating [my plans]. It’s all kind of a sudden. Generally I’ll be back home in Miami with my kids and my wife, work my butt off, come back next year in great shape and ready to go again.”

How ‘ bout ready to stay on the floor for pivotal, season-defining fourth quarters? That would be an offseason well spent.

48 Comments

  1. Slowpoke_Meme says:

    Hey guys did you hear?! Derrick Rose tore his acl!!!!

  2. Chicago4DAwin says:

    Boozer and Noah for Dwight, how does that sound?

  3. GrizzGrindHouse says:

    With Thibodeau as their coach, defense won’t be am issue.

    If the Bulls have to trade Boozer, I wish they would get a legitimate scoring option with an average defensive play. Probably the same position as him, or a shooting guard.

    Or if they want to try the same roster for another year, run the offense through Boozer and Deng. And when Rose is cleared to play (around January ’till March), insert Rose to the rotation limiting him run the offense so the team won’t rely on him that much.

  4. DBD says:

    I think the bulls offense is useing Boozer wrongly.. they should go to him early and get him going early and the game… and D. Rose can end it at the end of the game… they have the one- two punch with Boozer and Rose, just like the Utah players said they ran there offense throught him… Noah, Deng, can not create there own shots they only a supportive cast, my point is if Boozer stop taking them jump shots or them fade away shots, and get down low most of the time and the pick in role with Rose we can mos def win with the Roster we have now, just play them where they feel comfortable.. And Deng should get down low as well like the year 2005-06 year one of his best years, and he like to shoot mid- range shots.. so please coach Thibs play your players well they feel comfortable.

  5. Somehow says:

    I really think that Gibson has much more game than Boozer and we (Bulls) should find a way to trade Booz away and let Gibson step up to the lineup and you’ll see how he will blossom…
    Other thing, i really don’t think Rip is a 2guard game changer, he doesn’t create off the dribble he is the same as Korver except he is more a mid range shooter than long range shooter as Kyle is, so all in all we should by all means trade Boozer (yes) for a 2guard, creator off drible, scorer, etc. like Rose is. And I really like Monta Ellis, I imagine him in the backcourt alongside D-Rose and that’s a pretty sight! He is not as good defender as Rip is, but given the chance to play for a true contender and under Thibs I think that will not be an obstacle! But the hard thing to do is trade Booz for Ellis…we could add picks or other players as CJ or Brewer in the mix or even involve another team in it, but even though i don’t think anyone in this league wants Bozzer for starters…

  6. All the Bulls needed was LeBron James. Add him to the Chicago roster and I guarantee multiple championships. I like the Heat team and all, but Wade and their bench is not strong enough to win a ring. The Bulls are one key player away from winning multiple rings. I think they need to find a way to get LBJ or plan on getting him once his contract with the Heat expires.

  7. Mr.305 says:

    Marcos, ignorance is truely bliss. Last year they played each other in the ECF.. Although their numbers were nearly the same, Bosh CLEARLY outplayed Boozer. Look at the stat sheets and whos team went on to the Finals. Even though Bosh has had a slow start to the post season, doesnt mean he cannot clean it up. Those stats yiou say are not from the regular season. In which he was very productive. Helping the heat go 13-1 WITHOUT Wade. Plz, do not speak out of hate or opinions.. Use FACTS.

  8. Devon says:

    Boozer was a beast in Utah when healthy, but in Chicago he has been used wrongly. The offense doesn’t suit him and he doesn’t have a TRUE pg to give him the ball consistently. D-rose is NOT a true pg, he is a great, dominant scoring pg with vision, but he is no D-will or CP3 when it comes to setting your players up.

    The reason why Boozer got his 80 million dollar contract and 2 all-star appearances: Derron williams and the jazz offense.

    I don’t think Boozer is a terrible player, but he is NOT worth the money he is making and I was happy to see him go from Utah because I thought Milsap was a better player anyway. Feel bad for bulls fans, as much as I hate them, because you hate to see a team lose because of injuries. They would have won the East if healthy.

  9. Jazzbo says:

    All I see him do on the court is yell. That won’t win games.

    Name? Boozer!…..Occupation? Boozer!

  10. welcome back to reality says:

    hahaha so funny.. now the bulls nation, that criticized james for going to miami and joing wade and bosh are in need of another star in amare stoudemire.. hahaha,, so funny.. i hate to say this but all you bulls fans should be worried about rose’s health rather than worrying who can your team in offense instead.. it’s torn ACL and we all know that rose’s strength come’s from his speed.. i don’t want to see him going down like that.. i was thinking of bulls to be miami’s conference rival and i like to see them grind it out in a 7 game series but now all the pieces comes to place.. i just wish rose a speedy recovery and hope he’ll be back in full throttle, just like he used to be..

  11. Law064 says:

    I have to admit it being a bulls fan and living in Chicago Boozer is a waste of salary. When I go to the games I always boo him because he’s softer than wet toilet paper. The bulls should’ve went after Al Jefferson over Boozer. Al was less money and can provide a lot more than Boozer. He’s always getting benched in the 4th quarter. His inside game is trash all he can do is shoot mid-range jumpers. He’s a PF and has nice size he should be in the post going nuts but no not him he think he’s a SG. I say trade him and get someone worth paying that much money for. Bulls made a mistake getting Carlos Loser. smh I still can’t believe the bulls are gone next year they have to stay healthy and they’ll reach the finals

  12. Mike says:

    I agree with many of you that Boozer needs to go. It’s not necessarily that he is a bad player, but he is certainly not the right player for the Bulls. Chicago needs someone in the forward position with a strong low post game. Boozer has none. The man shoots more fade away jumpers than Jordan and Kobe for crying out loud! He may not take as many shoots, but percentage wise that is almost all he does. With his size he should be posting up down low and then going up strong for a dunk, layup, or close range shoot under the basket and finishing strong or at least drawing a foul. He just does not have good decision making. That is why he is on the bench in the fourth quarter when big games are on the line. Tibs knows what he is doing. He was coach of the year last year and runner up this year. So those of you that blame him are just flat out wrong. In fact, I would argue that if he was kept in the game last game, we would not have even been close at the end like we were. With Rose and Noah out, he needed to step up like Deng did, and he just didn’t. Yes, he had a decent game in Game 5, however it was mainly because he was actually hitting some of those ridiculous fade aways for once. He is simply not athletic enough and doesn’t have enough lift to rely that heavily on a fade away jump shot. And as far as Watson goes, yes he did have a bad series against the Sixers. You have to realize though that he was being asked to take on a lot of extra responsibility and minutes in the absence of Rose. Bringing the ball up the court most of the game, especially while being pressed a lot of the time, depletes a lot of energy. That in turn leads to shots coming up short. He is use to playing a lot less minutes and bringing the ball up the court primarily against the other teams second unit. So when you change all that, and against a playoff caliber team, the rest of his game suffers as a result. That is why people don’t complain much about him. Not to mention that he played really well in most of the regular season games without Rose.

  13. Marcos says:

    People being ignorant is your fault. Besides Carlos Boozer is a good forward just look at his numbers. Hello!!!! their is a reason he was an all-star and that he was one of the big names in the free agency and besides if were talking about performances let’s talk about Chris Bosh aka Chris Bump’s numbers have been mediocre at best he has been scoring 14 points and only 8 rebounds per game compared to Boozer he really is a bench player but nobody talks about him because he has James and Wade to covert up for him unlike Boozer that was alone.

  14. Melo_Man says:

    Trade boozer to Bosh or to a power forward that can play defensively.

  15. Santa says:

    The reason we got Boozer was for his offensive game.. He aint performing to our expectation.. Causes more trouble than good to the team.. trade him for a young talented two guard…

  16. JJ says:

    Glad you guys are dealing with him in Chicago now and we aren’t here in Utah. Same story you guys have with him as we did afew years ago. He’s soft, doesn’t go to the rim hard every time and complains. Let’s not forget the strange injuries he has often. Good luck! We don’t want him back that’s for sure.

  17. Damian (from Argentina) says:

    Boozer is a waste of money for Bulls. I can´t understand WHY Bulls´management signed him. $75 millions for a player that NEVER determined a game for Bulls. Please, trade or amnesty him. Bulls players, stop saying that with this roster we can get a ring, because THAT´S NOT TRUE.

  18. Nabeel says:

    Bulls was the worst team ever in the playoffs, i don’t know who to blame, but i am sure we need some one to score another than point guard, with these players we will never do it.

  19. Goce says:

    Trade Boozer and one or two more for Howard!!
    That would be best for everyone.

  20. marlon green says:

    I dont know why everyone is so surprised Boozer was never all that good to begin with. Just an average forward in the league!. He is to big to not have a low post back to the basket post game. This guy shoots more turn around jump shots than some 2 guards in the league! As far as his contract goes I dont blame him on cashing in, if someone is dumb enough to pay him that amount then I say take it. Especially now since everytime a player that gets traded that wants to stay with the team gets upset. The league is a business remember?

  21. boy_bastos says:

    mybe Boozer should waived and sign as veterans minimum in miami to win a championship with the BIG 3 hehehe

  22. Bulls! says:

    Déjà vu of last season, right?
    Boozer should go this summer. A fitting guy for the Bulls would be J-Smoove.

  23. wulverin0208 says:

    GO CELTICS

  24. WHAT A JOKE says:

    IT WOULD BE OK IF BOOZER CAME OFF THE BENCH ONLY AND GOT PAID THE SALARY MINIMUM,he is a bench player and so is anyone who plays that horrible on defence,limited on offense too slow and non athletic,just an incosistent close range shooter basically, who ever said trade him for amare doesnt know what his talking about cause amare is basically the same sh1t as boozer a non factor especialy in postseason,just averages 2 points more, a role player no championship material,the league has very few decent bigmen,i dont think the bulls can get anything better right now cause there are no good FA PFs right now,and who would trade for boozer anyway

  25. Jackal says:

    People need to lay off Boozer and actually point out the real issue with the Bulls. They have no offense at all. Thibedope’s offensive playbook can’t even be called a “book”, it’s more like a pamphlet.

    Even in missing Rose, their pathetic offensive performances cannot be excused. And yes, Boozer had a bad shooting game in game 6 (also had 13 boards, but nobody’s mentioning that), but he was great in game 5 (something else nobody mentions), and the Bulls still didn’t score 80 points.

    Meanwhile CJ Watson has been terrible the entire series, especially the last 2-3 games, and nobody’s even talking about him. Boozer has one off game and it’s magically all his fault, but it’s not Thibs’ for his terrible mind for offense, it’s not Watson’s for having terrible games every single game of the series including multiple bonehead errors to throw the game away in game 6, and it’s not Noah’s fault who can’t stay on the floor and almost makes as much as Boozer does.

    Gimmie a break. Blame everybody for being failures, not just one dude who had one bad game, and didn’t even have the worst game of the night for the Bulls. I place a lot more blame on Thibs’ coaching and Watson’s repetative choking than I do Boozer for missing a few more shots than he averages.

  26. kevin says:

    get dwight howard ..pls

  27. Robert Masters says:

    He is the same tease he was in Utah…regular season scoring machine with some small signs of D…but hey, he can board and score…so who cares right…except he FADES under pressure…and his game is just too easy to shut down in the playoffs because he backs down and becomes milktoast. Bulls took a bunch former jazz players, but should have left Booze on the shelf….selfish, lazy, and just not a winner…Rose, Deng, Noah, Tibs and crew deserve better.

  28. Ian John says:

    Boozer likes to work only and never think of being a champion…

  29. Roy says:

    It’s not his fault entirely, he was benched by his coach. You can not bench your best player in final 10 minutes in a crucial game if you are really a good coach.

  30. Boosr Losr says:

    I don’t ever remember seeing a player on the Bulls who was as big a choke artist as Carlos Boozer. He’s just here to collect a paycheck. To see him cheering on the bench during the fourth quarter instead of out there actually trying help the team win is so pathetic. He was brought here to be an integral part of the team and if we was a real competitor he would want to be out there in the fourth quarter trying to lead his team to victory. Instead, the Bulls have the most overpaid cheerleader on any bench in the NBA.

  31. Axel says:

    Well.. to be fair he didn’t really have that great support from the beginning with the Bulls. And how could he when he was supposed to fill the spot fans though was gonna be Lebron James or Dwyane Wade? If anything I think Tom’s coaching even made him improve a little since he played in Utah. I agree he’s a bit overpaid, but there really aren’t that many better power forwards in the league (though i do love Gibson’s game;).

  32. Farrell says:

    I think its better to trade boozer. with Rip and deng in the 2 and 3 spot i think mid range game would not be that much. Noah needs a great help from inside. Bulls should put Taj more minutes. Boozer was with Lebron in cleveland before but didnt played well on those crucial games and same with the jaZZ along side williams. sorry to say this but BOOZER should be out and scout for more power forwards . the talented ones

  33. wickedforehand says:

    huh? Noah is not one of the two best Bulls player in the current roster….

  34. Ted says:

    Boozer was a waste of money for the Bulls. He is the weak point of the Bulls defense and is just not consistent on offense. He thrived in Utah because of the pick and rolls and pops. They should trade him while he still has a little value

  35. chandler says:

    i like boozer hes done great with the bulls u shouldnt be dissin him

  36. Danilo Abing says:

    so i think one to blame is boozer… he needs to take over the role of rose… he is mature and talented the situation like that boozer really needs to blow up.. if boozer come up his offense, their is a change bulls go to the 2nd round playoffs so next year good luck bulls wait the d-rose….

  37. Huh? says:

    “Despite boos and criticism from Bulls fans…” Boozer doesn’t get boo’d from Bulls fans. That’s “BOOOOOOZ” for Boozer.

  38. Damian says:

    Well, not the best game of that series, it was tight but it lacked a lot of will.

  39. Ethan says:

    Wow! Sounds like some of the articles written about him while here in Utah. I guess leopards don’t change their spots.

  40. Derik says:

    I hope they trade Boozer somewhere else. For a team with Chmapionship ambitions, his performance is unacceptable.

  41. Big D says:

    Boozer should be released and waived. The bulls should gain Amare so we’ll have some more scoring…and our defense wont go down at all. The knicks will gain boozer and have more defense and itll be better suited for boozer to just get rebounds. Amare would be a good adition to chicago

  42. Ziek says:

    Get Odom and trade Boozer…

  43. John says:

    It’s funny because teflon would be pretty easy to penetrate. Just like Boozer’s case for not playing as well as he could have.