HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Chicago Bulls fans will have to find someone else to complain about now that Carlos Boozer is no longer an option.
The Bulls used the amnesty provision on the veteran power forward today, ending Boozer’s four-year tenure with the team. Boozer played in 280 games with the Bulls and averaged 15.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists as a mainstay in Tom Thibodeau’s starting lineup. But he remained an easy target when the Bulls repeatedly came up short in the postseason.
The Bulls thanked Boozer for his work, of course, praising him as they amnestied him.
“Carlos epitomized professionalism in everything he did for the Bulls both on the court, and in the community, during his time here in Chicago,” Bulls GM Gar Forman said in a statement released by the team. “Over the last four seasons, Carlos’ productivity helped elevate our team to another level. I have nothing but respect for Carlos, and certainly wish him the best as he moves forward.”
The Bulls did get a quality run out of Boozer, who now becomes a free agent in a bidding process for teams with salary cap space. Interested teams need to have at least $1.5 million, Boozer’s minimum salary, in cap space to sign bid on hid on him.
Boozer was a part of a core group in Chicago under Tom Thibodeau that included Derrick Rose, who won MVP honors in 2011, and reigning Kia Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah. As Sam Smith of Bulls.com, who first reported the Boozer news, points out, the Bulls enjoyed loads of success with Boozer in their mix:
Since Carlos Boozer was signed by the Bulls as a free agent in 2010, statistically one of the most successful free agent acquisitions in franchise history, the Bulls were just one of four NBA teams to win at least 200 games. The others were the Spurs and Heat, who won three of the four championships, and the Thunder, who went to one Finals.
Since Boozer signed with the Bulls in the summer of 2010, he started more games than any other Bulls player, he averaged more points than anyone other than Derrick Rose, who played in just two of those four seasons, and Boozer had rebounds than everyone but Joakim Noah and was tied with Noah for the top shooting percentage at 49 percent. Boozer was second to Noah in most free throws made in that four-year period and averaged almost five minutes fewer per game than Noah. Noah was a star passing center averaging 3.7 assists the last four seasons. But Boozer averaged more than two assists per game.
The Bulls Tuesday announced they had exercised the amnesty provision to release Boozer from his contract with the Bulls. He will be in a waiver period where teams can make bids for him with the highest dollar amount winning. Then that money would reduce the $16.8 million the Bulls owe Boozer for next season. Only teams with salary cap room can make bids. If none do, only then would Boozer become a free agent and be able to sign where he chooses.
But in leaving the Bulls after four seasons, Boozer deserves praise for the job he did and perhaps a bit of an apology from some amongst a critical group who often have decried his play.
All Boozer did was what he was asked. And perhaps even more.
Atlanta and Charlotte, two teams in need of veteran depth in the frontcourt, are considered two of the early frontrunner’s in pursuit of Boozer.