Until the first round of the 2011 Playoffs, the goat—meaning the player who under performs high expectations—was tough to find on the Chicago Bulls. After the first round against the Indiana Pacers, the goat was clearly Carlos Boozer.
If one believes his diminished performance hurt the team or the injury led to his playoff performance, the four following slides are issues to consider going forward as a Chicago Bulls fan.
The 800-pound gorilla in the room when it comes to Carlos Boozer is his expensive contract. The challenge with any potential trade is convincing another team to take the remaining four years of a five-year contract above $80 million.
The ability to deal Boozer will diminish under any new NBA Collective Bargain Agreement. Any team making a move for Carlos Boozer would want a higher salary cap to add other players to take out downside insurance against the risk of his further diminished performance.
A higher salary cap is unlikely under a new NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement. Therefore, the potential suitors for Boozer’s services will shrink.
Arguably, no position in basketball takes more of a toll on a player than the power forward position. While the position boasted greats like Charles Barkley, Karl Malone and Kevin McHale, it’s important to remember even these legends battled injuries.
In plain English, numerous injuries are the nature of the power forward position.
Therefore, we should all keep that in mind when it comes to Carlos Boozer. The turf toe injury clearly slowed him down in the playoffs.
I would argue it hurt his play on the margins. The other element to consider in Carlos Boozer’s play is just plain age.
The Chicago Bulls signed him at age 29. He is going into this 30s. When his deal with the Chicago Bulls is over, he’ll be around 33 or 34. This means we signed him for veteran leadership and on the downside of his career. Therefore, we should all set realistic expectations.
The Chicago Bulls are a deeply talented team. Clearly, they took out downside insurance against Carlos Boozer’s decline. The downside insurance is called Taj Gibson. Arguably, no team in the NBA gets more production out of the power forward position than the Chicago Bulls.
Consider this: On any given night, the Chicago Bulls can get 25 to 35 points and 15 to 25 rebounds collectively out of Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson.
Most teams in the NBA would stand in line to trade places with the Chicago Bulls any day when it comes to power forward production. Before any trade, it’s best to consider the true cost of breaking up the best power forward combo in the league.
Once the NBA Lockout is lifted, new reality will begin in the NBA. Offseason dreaming will give way to pragmatism. Once the true costs are considered, the focus will change from Boozer to getting a shooting guard who can relieve pressure on Derrick Rose.
Carlos Boozer may not be the power forward Chicago Bulls fans wanted. But after the NBA Lockout and the new rules, he will be the power forward we all have to accept in Chicago.