5 NBA Teams Hoping Chicago Bulls Amnesty Carlos Boozer

Kelly Scaletta@@KellyScalettaFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2014

5 NBA Teams Hoping Chicago Bulls Amnesty Carlos Boozer

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    Chuck Burton

    It has been speculated that the Chicago Bulls may use their amnesty on Carlos Boozer in an effort to free up cap space. If they do, one team’s garbage might become another team’s treasure.

    Well, at least he might become another team’s affordable and serviceable player.

    The flip side of the amnesty clause is that other teams can make out like bandits. That’s because, unlike a normal waiver claim, a team can pick up an amnestied player for less than the value of his full contract.

    Per Larry Coon’s CBA FAQ:

    But amnesty is different from the normal waiver process in that it allows teams to make either a full or partial waiver claim. When a team makes a full waiver claim it acquires the player, assumes his full contract, and pays all remaining salary obligations (and the waiving team has no further salary obligation to the player).

    Full waiver claims have precedence over partial waiver claims -- if one team makes a full waiver claim and another makes a partial waiver claim, the team making the full waiver claim is awarded the player. If multiple teams make full waiver claims, the player is awarded to the team with the worst record.

    So, if a team bids $3 million for Boozer’s $16.8 million deal, that's all they have to pay. The Bulls pay the remaining $13.8 million. Boozer might not be worth $16.8 million, but he’s certainly worth $3 million. That's the upside of amnesty.

    So, why aren't more teams getting in on this action?

    Because, as Coon explains, not just anyone can bid on an amnestied player: 

    In order to submit a bid for a partial waiver claim, the bidding team must have cap room equivalent to the portion of their bid that would be charged to team salary in that season, plus the amount of any likely bonuses (see question number 73) for that season.

    If necessary, teams can create this cap room by waiving non-guaranteed players, but not by making trades. The team must make the cap room available immediately upon being awarded the amnesty claim.

    If a player clears amnesty waivers, he can be signed by anyone. In Boozer’s case, it’s highly improbable he gets to that point. Not all the teams who can bid on him will, but there are enough with both the need and the cap space to assure he'll get at least one bid. Therefore, no teams that are expected to be over the cap were considered for this list. 

    These rankings are based on how well Boozer would fit with his new team. They are listed from bottom to top.

5. Boston Celtics

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    Charles Krupa

    Boozer might be past his prime, but with Rajon Rondo setting him up, he’d probably see a bump in his scoring. He’s at his best when he’s getting set up in the post, and part of his problems come because the Bulls don’t use him that way.

    None of the Boston Celtics' bigs are particularly effective scorers. They were 23rd this year in field goals in the restricted area. Boozer would give them a legitimate option inside.  

    He could also help to mentor developing youngsters Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger. Boozer has lost some speed and hops, but he does have a lot of knowledge and experience to pass on.

    Additionally, one thing that Boozer never has been criticized for is his rebounding. He’s always been a dominant presence on the glass, particularly defensively. Shocking as this may be, he’s fifth all time in defensive-rebound percentage.

    For a team that was 19th in the league in that category last season, Boozer would be a welcome addition.

    All that said, the Celtics may be looking to spend their money on a bigger free-agent acquisition, such as Gordon Hayward. If they go that route it would take up every cent of their cap space. He would also go against their recent goals of getting younger. 

    Still, at $2 million or $3 million, it's a possibility. Boozer would be a nice fit in Boston, and it will be looking at him as a potential option. However, in this case it will largely depend on what else happens.

4. Orlando Magic

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    Jeff Haynes

    The Orlando Magic are recovering well from the Dwight Howard trade.

    They already have a promising young core of players in Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, Maurice Harkless, and Victor Oladipo. As the owners of the third-most lottery balls in the 2014 draft, they’ll have the chance to add a potential star to that group.

    They’ll also have the chance to add help in free agency. Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News reports that Luol Deng of the Cleveland Cavaliers will leave, “no later than a minute past midnight,” which sounds pretty definitive. 

    Lawrence also cites the Magic as one of the teams interested in landing Deng’s services.

    Deng is a nice fit, and if you’re going to bring him on board, why not consider his former teammate in Chicago as well? The pair would add a nice blend of offense and defense, as well as a good amount of veteran leadership to a youthful squad.

    Boozer could back up Harris at the power forward position but give the Magic the option of a traditional 4 when they need one.

    The Magic were only 26th in net efficiency from the power forward spot this year, per HoopsStats.com.  They could certainly use the help. Getting that depth of experience to supplement and lead a young squad without spending a ton of money would be a big plus.

    However, if they feel that signing Boozer would undercut Harris’ confidence, they may hesitate.

3. Charlotte Bobcats

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    Chuck Burton

    The Charlotte Bobcats are definitely a team on the rise, but they have one major weakness they need to address: Only the Sacramento Kings failed to score more points than the Bobcats from the power forward position this year.

    Sure, Boozer had his lowest scoring average since his rookie year at 13.7 points, but that’s still nearly as many as the Bobcats got from all their power forwards combined (15.2).

    Resident starter Josh McRoberts is a bit underrated. He’s a fine passer and a solid defender, but he also averaged just 8.5 points this season.

    The Bobcats have Al Jefferson to offset the lack of damage offensively, but he possesses some of the same kinds of defensive liabilities that Boozer does. It would be problematic to start them side by side.

    But, if Boozer is coming off the bench in relief of McRoberts, it would solve some problems for the Bobcats. It gives them someone who can score inside when Jefferson rests. It gives them an option if teams are double-teaming Jefferson.

    Furthermore, Bobcats coach Steve Clifford is a Tom Thibodeau protege, having learned the basic tenets of his defense from the Bulls head coach. While Boozer might be a defensive liability, he does understand the Bobcats’ schemes and how to be hidden in them.

    It makes a lot of sense for Charlotte to put in a bid if Boozer hits amnesty waivers.

2. Los Angeles Lakers

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    Reed Saxon

    Boozer would make a good fit on the Los Angeles Lakers. Whether it’s Steve Nash or Kendall Marshall setting him up, he would be able to score some points. But, he wouldn’t have the onus of carrying the offense on a team with Kobe Bryant.

    That’s the happy medium where Boozer thrives. He’s at his best when he’s a second option.

    Additionally, the team might be looking for a new power forward with the potential departure of Pau Gasol. If the suddenly (albeit briefly) cost-conscious Lakers can replace most of Gasol’s production at a fraction of the cost, it would be a huge win.

    That’s because it would allow them to be competitive next season but keep their cap space in the 2015 offseason.

    And, as for Boozer’s lack of defense? According to Mark Heisler of the Orange County Register, the team will still be coached by Mike D’Antoni, so defense really doesn’t matter.

    But, all of that might have nothing to do with why the Lakers put in a bid for Boozer. The last time the Lakers were this horrid, it made sense they were called the Lakers, because the Minneapolis Lakers were 19-53 back in 1957-58.

    Lakers fans are not used to this. Unless they’re septuagenarians, they probably don’t even remember it having happened.

    Meanwhile they have an owner, Jim Buss, out to prove he’s not an incompetent fool who caused all this derailment to happen. I’m not saying it’s his fault, and I’m not saying it isn’t. I’m just saying the perception exists that he’s to blame.

    So, in an effort to stem the tide of resentment (for a fun game, type “Jim Buss is” into your address bar and look at the auto-completes), Buss will be desperate to do something.

    Having a chance to grab a big name like Boozer’s at a low cost will be too much of a temptation to pass up. The Lakers will bid on him.

    In this case, if they do the right thing for the wrong reasons, it still counts.

1. San Antonio Spurs

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    Eric Gay

    If the Statue of Liberty were a basketball team, she would be the San Antonio Spurs. Only then she’d say,

    “Give me your tired, your waived,
    Your amnestied masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your team unsure,
    Send these, the hopeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my Larry O’Brien Trophy beside the golden door!"

    This is what the San Antonio Spurs do. They take washed up, broken players who are spent, have failed or have given up on and fix them.

    For crying out loud, they even made Boris Diaw into a serviceable player again! Boris Diaw! That should have been impossible. Diaw was in a career tailspin when he was waived by the Charlotte Bobcats in 2012. Diaw played 1,018 minutes in Charlotte that year, and he had minus-.5 win shares. (At that point, what do you call it? A loss share?)

    If they can rejuvenate Diaw, they can sure help Boozer.

    Boozer would give the Spurs one more big to throw at teams and overachieve. It would give Gregg Popovich, who might be the most creative coach in the league, one more toy to play with.  It might even be unfair to the rest of the NBA.

    The Spurs always manage to pull of these moves, so don’t be surprised if Boozer is not only with the Spurs next year, but he's also having a career renaissance as well.


    All stats for this article are courtesy of NBA.com/STATSHoopsStats.com or Basketball-Reference.com.