The Bulls’ Nate Robinson and the Raptors’ John Lucas III would also be included in order to make the salaries match.
Boozer is absolutely a better fit than Bargnani. So why are the Bulls even interested in such a trade?
It’s easy; the move could take the Bulls below the luxury-tax threshold. They’re all about saving money. That’s why they chose not to re-sign Omer Asik in the offseason, and allowed him to land with the Houston Rockets.
Bargnani makes $5 million less than Boozer this season. Both players are signed through 2015. Boozer has $32.1 million left on his deal the next two years, while Bargnani will make $22.25 in the same period of time.
The Raptors don’t make many appearances on national TV. With that said, you may not know a lot about Bargnani unless you’re an NBA fanatic. Here’s a video of his career highlights.
Bargnani was drafted No. 1 overall by the Raptors in 2006. The Italian seven-footer isn’t necessarily a bust, but hasn’t blossomed into a franchise superstar like some had predicted. He has played like the next Dirk Nowitzi at times. And other times, he has proven to be a major disappointment.
Bargani averaged a career-high 21.4 points per game two seasons ago and 19.5 last season. However, he’s struggling mightily this season, producing just 14.8.
Boozer, who’s currently averaging 15.7 points per game, is clearly a better low-post scorer than Bargnani.
The former Duke star had an incredible January, putting up nearly 20 points per contest. During the month, he dropped 36 against the Raptors (his biggest total since joining the Bulls), 31 against the Orlando Magic Orlando and 27 against the defending champion Miami Heat.
The Bulls would be interested in acquiring Bargnani because of his cheaper contract. They could also be interested, though, due to his outside shooting ability.
The Bulls currently rank 29th in the league in three-pointers made. In fact, only the Memphis Grizzlies have hit fewer. Plus, they’re 25th in three-point percentage.
However, Bargnani is shooting only 30 percent from beyond the arc this season, which is definitely nothing to brag about.
Speaking of percentages, Bargnani is shooting a meager 41 percent from the field this season and just 44 percent for his career.
Boozer, on the other hand, is shooting 47 percent this season and 53 percent for his career.
So obviously Boozer is the more efficient shooter of the two.
If the Bulls were to go through with this trade, they would be losing a quality rebounder in Boozer. The 11th-year power forward is grabbing 9.3 boards per contest, second on the team behind Joakim Noah.
Meanwhile, you’ll never see the words “great rebounder” next to Bargnani’s name, that’s for sure. He’s currently averaging a forgettable 3.9 rebounds per game. And he’s actually averaging just 4.9 rebounds for his career, certainly not great for a seven-footer.
The chart below shows stats for each player this season. As you can see, Boozer trumps Bargnani in all four categories.
Boozer isn’t an elite defender by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, he’s much better than Bargnani in that department. Honestly, Bargnani is a horrific defender, to say the least.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is all about defense. That said, it’s possible Thibs would bring Bargnani off the bench and promote Taj Gibson—a solid defender—to the starting lineup.
The Bulls need to avoid a Boozer-Bargnani swap. While it would surely help out financially, it wouldn’t help out in the win column.
The team has overachieved this season without superstar point guard Derrick Rose in the lineup (torn ACL). Stifling D as well as contributions from All-Stars Luol Deng and Noah are the main reasons for the team’s success. However, Boozer—who is having an All-Star caliber year—also deserves a lot of credit.
If Rose returns this year, the Bulls could have a chance at winning it all in June. They're going to need Boozer's inside scoring and rebounding, though, in order to get the job done.
So, Mr. Gar Forman (Bulls GM), please keep Booz in the Windy City. We'll pass on Bargnani.
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