Frustrated Carlos Boozer Sounds off on Lack of Fourth-Quarter Minutes

Ben LeibowitzCorrespondent IIIFebruary 3, 2014

Jan 29, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer (5) reacts against the San Antonio Spurs during the second half at the AT&T Center. Chicago beat San Antonio 96-86. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Veteran Chicago Bulls big man Carlos Boozer is not pleased with the amount of playing time he's getting in the fourth quarter of games.

UPDATE: Tuesday, Feb. 4, at 10:30 a.m. ET by Dan Favale

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau responded to Boozer's previous comments, via the Chicago Sun-Times' Joe Cowley:

I have two guys that are deserving of being starters. I’m asking Taj to sacrifice not starting, and in some cases Carlos has to sacrifice not finishing.

Sometimes you have to sacrifice what might be best for yourself for what’s best for the team. That’s what I love about Taj. Taj could be upset he’s not starting. He never complains. Whatever you ask him to do he just goes out there and does it. To me, what he does speaks volumes. He’s not talking about it. He’s going out there and doing it.

Indirect shots have never been so direct.

Coach Thibs wasn't the only person upset with Boozer, either. General manager Gar Forman was turned off by the forward's approach to this situation as well.

"I'm disappointed that Carlos didn't keep that in-house," Forman said, per CSN Chicago. "I think we've seen Tom does a terrific job managing guys' roles, managing their minutes. In that situation, Taj has played very, very well."

Clearly, Boozer's comments have accomplished very little. 

Next time he feels like voicing his concerns, perhaps he should consider talking to Thibs privately instead of using the media as his personal megaphone. 

---End of update---


ESPN's Nick Friedell broke down Boozer's frustrations in a series of tweets:

Boozer didn't play at all in the fourth quarter of Chicago's 88-79 loss against the New Orleans Pelicans on Feb. 1. Chicago entered the final quarter of play facing a 71-57 deficit.

Instead of giving the nod to Boozer, head coach Tom Thibodeau has been giving the crunch-time minutes to defensive-minded power forward Taj Gibson.

Dec 31, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) is defended by Chicago Bulls power forward Taj Gibson (22) during the first quarter at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Spor

Both players are difference-makers in their own right, but Gibson's defensive rating in 2013-14 (points allowed per 100 possessions with him on the floor) is 96.8, per That number is considerably better than Boozer's defensive rating of 99.4.

Also, although Boozer said the Bulls lose "more times than not" when he's not out there at the end of games, he's averaging slightly fewer minutes in wins (29.3) than in losses (30.2).

Ryan Knaus of Rotoworld tweeted the stats Boozer has posted in the fourth quarter this season, and they're not pretty:

The 32-year-old out of Duke University is averaging 14.8 points per game—the lowest mark since his rookie year—while shooting a career-low 45.7 percent from the field in 2013-14.

Gibson, meanwhile, is averaging a career-high 12.3 points per game while shooting 48.9 percent from the field. In terms of defense and offensive efficiency, the 28-year-old has proven to be the better option.

Boozer is set to make $15.3 million this season and is under contract to the tune of $16.8 million in 2014-15, per ShamSports.

The Bulls could decide to release him via the amnesty provision, but that decision continues to hang in the balance. According to Friedell, Bulls executive vice president John Paxson said the following in January:

"Everybody knows that we have the amnesty clause available to us. And it's a decision that will be made, but it's not being made today. It will be made at some point, but you can't do it now if you want to do it."

At least for the time being, Boozer remains a member of the Bulls.