Bad news, Bulls fans. Carlos Boozer isn't going anywhere for three years. It's a heartbreaker, right?
His inability to produce when it was needed was the final straw for many fans who have been clamoring for him to be traded. It's not going to happen, for at least three years.
Boozer's salary is the first big issue. Here is his paycheck for the remaining years on his contract:
- 2011-12: $13.5 million
- 2012-13: $15 million
- 2013-14: $15.3 million
- 2014-15: $16.8 million
As you can see, Boozer is getting paid so much, he will be impossible to trade for at least three years. In three years' time, he will have a huge expiring contract and will become a valuable commodity. But with an uncertain CBA coming up, no team will take on that contract now.
The next issue with Boozer is his age. If he was a young guy, keep him around. But since he is getting older, his production will decline steadily.
Yes, Steve Nash is still playing well, but he does not battle for rebounds on a nightly basis in the trenches. Therefore, the season that just ended will be the best season Boozer ever has as a Bull. Other teams know this, and won't take on an overpaid, declining veteran.
Finally, the issue with his defense comes up. Boozer was a huge liability in the Miami series with his poor defense, and sparked a Miami run with a stupid technical as well.
Teams might be even more wary of his lack of talent on defense than ever before because Tom Thibodeau is known as one of the best, if not the best, defensive coaches in the league. Yet Boozer still struggled under him on defense. As a result, if Thibs can't fix him, no one can.
Other GMs will pick up on this, and won't trade for a terrible defender, who is overpaid and declining.
And perhaps the most important reason why Boozer won't be traded for at least three years is his replacement won't be in America yet.
Yes, Nikola Mirotic was drafted to be Boozer's replacement. Mirotic is definitely more of a stretch four, but is 6'10" with a 7'1" wingspan. And he is the heir to the starting power forward position on the Bulls.
In three years, Boozer will be an expiring contract, nothing more. Teams will be lining up to take him off the Bulls' hands. And smart GM Gar Forman already has a new starter in mind, Mirotic. If he did not have to wait several years before coming to the NBA, it is not hard to believe Mirotic could have been a much, much higher pick.
Mirotic is a quality shooter, can play the pick-and-roll game, and run the floor. He is not a lethal back-to-the-basket player right now, but he is only 20 years old. Perhaps this is something he can develop in time.
Either way, his shooting will lead to him being able to contribute significant points his rookie year. Some have hypothesized he would be used a small forward, but the Bulls have Luol Deng in place for the foreseeable future.
Mirotic is also a quality defender, something Boozer never was. He has the ability to play in the middle and alter and block shots. While not as good on the low post as Joakim Noah, he certainly won't be a liability. Also, he is not the best rebounder, but next to Noah that is not as severe of an issue.
So as a result, yes, the Bulls will ship Boozer out of town. It just won't happen for three years.
Boozer is too old, too well paid and too poor at defense to be traded this season. But in three years, he will be worth something due to his expiring contact, and the Bulls will have his replacement ready.