The Chicago Bulls enter the 2013 All-Star break eight games above .500 and just a few games back of the Eastern Conference-leading Miami Heat, in large part thanks to the impact of veteran power forward Carlos Boozer.
That's why dealing their second-leading scorer and rebounder at this stage would be absolutely crippling to their title hopes.
However, another individual, who wasn't authorized to speak on behalf of either team, believes the proposed deal -- which would package Boozer and backup point guard Nate Robinson in exchange for Bargnani and former Bulls fan favorite John Lucas III -- is still on the table, though Toronto is hesitant to take on the remaining salary on Boozer's contract.
In addition to losing the 31-year-old Boozer, Chicago would be waving goodbye to Nate Robinson as well. The 28-year-old has elevated his game this season, averaging 12 points and 4.2 assists per game while hitting more than 40 percent of his three-pointers.
Acquiring John Lucas, a former fan favorite in the Windy City, would do little to help the club offensively. He's averaging just 5.6 points per game this season. He scored 7.5 per game last season for Chicago off the bench.
Plus, the Bulls would have just 30 games before the start of the postseason to work a banged-up and rattled Bargnani into the rotation.
The former No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 NBA draft, Bargnani missed 26 straight games from mid-December to early-February because of a nagging elbow injury. Bargnani isn't playing the worst basketball of his career this season, but it's awfully close.
The Italian center is averaging just 14.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game on 41 percent shooting from the field and a dismal 30 percent from beyond the arc. Not since his second year in 2007-08 has he been so ineffective.
Which player would lead the Bulls further in the playoffs?
On the other hand, Boozer is averaging 15.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per night on 47 percent shooting from the floor.
Bargnani is four years younger than Boozer. Therefore, his potential is greater. However, he's certainly not the 21-point-per-game scorer he was two seasons ago for the Raptors.
If Bargnani isn't scoring at an impressive clip, he's bound to hurt the Bulls on the defensive end, where he's a poor rebounder and weak individual defender.
Sure, swapping Boozer and Robinson for Bargnani and Lucas would help Chicago shed some salary. Boozer is only in the third year of his five-year, $75 million deal. However, for a team aspiring to win an NBA championship for the first time in the post-Michael Jordan era, risking chemistry for potential this deep into the season is foolish.
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