Carlos Boozer is playing his best basketball since becoming a member of the Chicago Bulls. Of the 11 games in January, he's recorded a double-double in nine of them. But how long will he keep this level of performance up?
Bulls fans have wanted Boozer out of Chicago for a while now, so with his increased value in the last month of play, perhaps management should look for teams that are hoping to strengthen their frontcourt or just trying to get some value for players that may leave their respective team in the coming years.
Building a championship caliber team around Derrick Rose should be the Bulls' main priority going forward. While it looks good now, it could potentially get better with the right move.
Note: All stats are accurate as of Jan. 22, 2013.
There are few forwards in the NBA that can match the combination of size and athleticism that Josh Smith has. With Smith's future in Atlanta up in the air (via CBS Sports), Atlanta could look to get something in exchange to avoid losing him in free agency with nothing in return.
Smith would add a lot of versatility to the Bulls' frontcourt and would add a defensive presence (2.2 blocks per game this season) that Boozer couldn't.
He can create his own shot due to the fact that most big men aren't quick enough to defend him when he decides to attack the rim from the triple threat position. He can also space the floor with his shooting ability and allow others to drive it inside.
The Bulls would probably have to throw in some draft picks to make the deal sweeter for Atlanta as they'd have to take on Boozer's big contract. With those picks, both teams could come out winners from this deal.
Andrea Bargnani has been involved in trade rumors (via Toronto Sun) for a large portion of this season. Whether or not he's traded will depend on his health, however. When he is healthy, Bargnani is one of the best scorers at his position.
He can stretch the floor with his shooting (36.2 percent career three-point shooter) and has the quickness to take a defender off the dribble if he chooses to. While Bargnani isn't as good of a rebounder as Boozer, his versatility on offense makes up for it and Noah will still be there to clean up the boards.
Not only would the Bulls be able to take Boozer's contract off the books, but they'd be adding a new scoring threat to put next to Rose for the next few years.
Michael Beasley hasn't exactly been given a lot of chances to shine. He's only started in 197 of 316 career games. In his two seasons as a starter, he was actually a good player. With Minnesota, he averaged 19 points per game while shooting a decent 45 percent from the floor.
There's still a lot of time for Beasley to develop into a star. At only 24 years of age, he's yet to reach his prime, and with the right team and coach behind him, he could achieve his full potential.
Beasley would give the Bulls a much needed scoring option, although he would be a liability on defense as he has an average defensive rating of 108 in the span of his career. With Tom Thibodeau teaching him though, it's not impossible that Beasley could improve as a defender.
Whether he's coming off the bench or starting at the four, Beasley would be able to produce for the Bulls from day one.
Kenneth Faried is one of the best young, up-and-coming forwards in the league. His ability to rebound and get out on the break is top-notch, as well as the energy he displays on the court. So why would the Nuggets give him up for an aging Boozer?
The one thing the Nuggets don't have is a legitimate half-court threat, so they play at a very fast pace (fourth in the league) to make up for it. If they can't get a good look early in the shot clock, they often struggle.
Adding Boozer to their team would fix that as they could just feed him the ball in the post whenever they need to.
As for the Bulls, they'd have one of the best, if not the best, rebounding frontcourts in the league with Faried—who is averaging just under 10 boards per game— and Joakim Noah at the center position. They'd also have a big man who could run with Rose on the break and finish strong inside.
Kevin Love is arguably the best power forward in the league. His ability to both rebound and score are among the best in the NBA. However, Love hasn't been shy about voicing his displeasure with the Wolves (via Yahoo! Sports).
The risk of Love walking once his opt-out is available is something Minnesota doesn't want, but the chances of it happening are fairly realistic. By acquiring Boozer, they get to keep some of the scoring and rebounding Love provides, although they would lose his versatility. It's still better than getting absolutely nothing.
Some first-round picks would sweeten the deal for Minnesota.
It goes without saying that the Bulls would become a favorite to win it all with Love and Rose. They are both top-three players in their respective positions, and would without a doubt make a great duo.
According to Synergy, Love scores on over a third of his shots in the pick-and-roll. While that may seem low, Rose would be coming off as a scoring threat as well, whereas Ricky Rubio is known as a more pass-oriented guard.
A two-man game between these two young stars could lead the Bulls to more than a few championships.