Banking On LeBron: Carlos Boozer Takes Less Money With Bulls, Hopes For James

Adrian V.Correspondent IJuly 7, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 04:  Carlos Boozer #5 of the Utah Jazz goes up for a shot over Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers during Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 4, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting free agent Carlos Boozer will sign a five-year, $80-million deal with the Chicago Bulls.

My first reaction upon reading this was to ask, "that's it?"

We have already seen Amar'e Stoudemire and Joe Johnson get triple-digit deals, not to mention nobodies like Amir Johnson ink contracts that will pay up to $7 million per season.

The reaction across the league has been, "what gives with all the overspending?"

And now Boozer, who made $13.5 million last season, is signing a deal that will pay him an average of just $2.5 million more per season?

Let's not forget the big dogs, Stoudemire, Johnson, Paul Pierce, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, are all off the table. Doesn't that mean Boozer's value should go through the roof simply because he's the last quality big man standing?

Of course it does.

The reality is Boozer has agreed to take less money with the goal of allowing the team to sign another big name.

LeBron James.

Whether or not the Bulls will land James is another story.

After signing Boozer, the Bulls will have six players under contract and about $17.3 million left in cap space.

While that's not enough to sign LeBron outright, the Bulls and Cavs could pull off a sign-and-trade involving small forward Luol Deng. Completing such a move would allow the Bulls to land LeBron, and Chicago would still have around $7.5 million left to fill out the roster, not including the mid-level exception.

A starting five of LeBron, Boozer, Joakim Noah, and Derrick Rose would certainly make the Bulls the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.