When a player is on the receiving end of an $80 million contract, the expectations of greatness reach an unparalleled level. When that player consistently flirts with the line of mediocrity, the praise instantly turns to criticism.
After receiving a contract worth $80 million over five years, Boozer was expected to be the missing piece for a Bulls franchise that hadn't found legitimate success since Michael Jordan's second retirement (via Yahoo! Sports). Over the span of his two seasons with the team, Boozer has performed well.
Unfortunately, "well" doesn't meet the lofty standards of angry Bulls fans.
Although his numbers have been solid, there is no way around how underwhelming they are in comparison to the digits on his contract.
Which is exactly why his future as a Bull could be in danger.
With such a passionate basketball city against him, the Bulls' fanbase has created an overwhelming cry for Boozers' contract. With the new CBA allowing teams to utilize an amnesty clause, thus ridding themselves of a player and his contract, the former Duke Blue Devil becomes a prime candidate for departure.
The question is, is there any way for Boozer to save himself from facing the amnesty clause? Believe it or not, there is.
Lead in D-Rose's Absence
With Derrick Rose sidelined for at least half of this coming regular season, there is a gaping void in terms of who will lead the Bulls in his absence. Although there will be competition for said role in the form of Luol Deng and Joakim Noah, there is no reason that Boozer cannot step up and snatch that responsibility.
If he is to succeed in doing so, he may just be able to save himself from being the latest victim of the amnesty clause.
The key for this point is the fact that statistics will not be enough. If he goes out and puts up the 20 points and 10 rebounds that he had in Utah but the Bulls continue to lose, he might as well continue to underwhelm in his production.
With that being said, don't think for a second that this isn't a package deal.
Produce as Expected
As previously noted, statistical production will not be enough to save his future. With that being said, even if the Bulls maintain their grasp on the top seed in the Eastern Conference, this will mean nothing for Boozer if he does not produce.
Confused? Don't be. It is a combination of victories and elite numbers that will save Boozer, not just one or the other.
From 2007 to 2010, Boozer posted averages of 19.9 points, 11.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Since signing with the Bulls, those numbers have dipped to 16.2 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.9 steals.
That's a steep decline across the board that can be chalked up to more than just a greater level of talent surrounding him. Boozer just isn't playing at the same level that we're used to witnessing.
Finally Develop a Rapport with Derrick Rose
While playing for the Utah Jazz, Carlos Boozer developed one of the greatest point guard-power forward tandems of this millennium. He and Deron Williams combined to lead the Utah Jazz to four consecutive postseason berths from 2007 to 2010.
That included a Western Conference Finals appearance in '07.
For one reason or another, Boozer has yet to develop that type of rapport with Derrick Rose. That has been the greatest hindrance on his game, as the pick-and-roll master has yet to establish such a dominant go-to play with his point guard.
In all fairness, Rose is not even close to the type of pick-and-roll point guard that Williams was. Nevertheless, Boozer must find a way to make this work.
If he is unable to, there is no one in Chicago who will call for Rose's head. Instead, it will be Boozer that is thrown to the wolves.
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