Why the Chicago Bulls Should Target Al Jefferson Via Trade

Haddon AndersonAnalyst IMay 18, 2012

DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 23:  Forward Al Jefferson #25 of the Utah Jazz at American Airlines Center on February 23, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

It's very unlikely the Chicago Bulls will use the amnesty clause on Carlos Boozer this summer, because it's quite apparent that such a maneuver will not free up extra cap space.

Therefore, they either just need to hope he produces at a more efficient rate—for the record, he had a quality 2011-2012 season, but much of it is being clouded by his woeful 1-11 Game 6 playoff performance against Philly—or they could potentially explore some trade options.

They will definitely have to get creative. It's not like teams will be chomping at the bit to land Boozer's hefty contract, which still has three years remaining.

Acquiring Al Jefferson via trade is a long shot, but there are numerous reasons to consider this.

A major reason this is worth speculation centers upon the array of quality big men the Utah Jazz possess. While Jefferson is their top threat, they may be willing to entertain trade potentials since a youngster like Derrick Favors or Enes Kanter could slide into the starting rotation.

The Bulls would surely love to add the 6'10'', 289-pound, 27-year-old Jefferson, who averaged 19.2 points per game, 9.6 rebounds per game and 1.7 blocks per outing last season.

He'd surely be a significant upgrade from Boozer, particularly on the defensive end.

But it's not like the Jazz would be willing to swap Boozer for Jefferson, and it's also unlikely that they'd be willing to take Boozer and a youngster like Jimmy Butler for Big Al. The likelihood is that the only way this could happen is if a third deal was involved.

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 19: Carlos Boozer #5 of the Chicago Bulls drives during a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on April 19, 2012 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Here's a potential scenario between the Bulls, Jazz and Phoenix Suns:

Bulls get: Al Jefferson, Josh Childress

Jazz get: C.J. Watson (after the Bulls pick up his team option for next season), Jared Dudley, Hakim Warrick, Bulls' conditional first round draft pick from Charlotte 

Suns get: Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Brewer

Now let's examine why such a deal makes sense for all three teams.

The Bulls receive a prominent big man who's a legitimate force on both ends of the floor. They also take back the lackluster Josh Childress and his pricey contract, but if they do trade Boozer, there will be some type of downside such as this.

The Jazz add numerous quality pieces, particularly to their lacking backcourt. Watson could challenge Devin Harris for the starting point guard position, and Dudley would likely take over as Utah's starting small forward. What's more, they also receive a first round pick that could end up being a top ten selection in the next few years.

And the Suns cast away numerous bad contracts, namely Childress and Warrick, and place Boozer in their frontcourt next to the emerging Marcin Gortat. Plus, with the amnesty clause available, the Suns could consider using that clause in the next couple seasons if they're ready to bid farewell to Boozer. They also acquire a quality defender in Brewer, something they desperately need.

Overall, there's reason to speculate a deal such as this. There's likely a deal out there involving Boozer that makes more sense, and if you can think of it, post it in the comments.

While giving up Boozer, Watson, Brewer and a draft pick may sound like a lot, imagine a rotation as follows: 

Starting Five: Derrick Rose (once healthy), Rip Hamilton, Luol Deng, Al Jefferson, Joakim Noah

Bench: John Lucas III, Jimmy Butler, Kyle Korver, Taj Gibson, Omer Asik (assuming they re-sign him)

That team is beyond capable of capturing the 2013 Larry O'Brien trophy.