Chicago Bulls: Should They Waive Carlos Boozer and Add a Superstar?

Hasib MoeenAnalyst IIOctober 10, 2011

Chicago Bulls: Should They Waive Carlos Boozer and Add a Superstar?

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    There are many questions still up in the air in regards to the next collective bargaining agreement.

    But a strong majority believe the NBA and its players have agreed on giving teams an amnesty clause, which would allow them to waive one player from their roster without his contract affecting the team's cap situation.

    The amnesty clause (or Allan Houston Exception) was first introduced in 2005, but the terms were different.

    Then, teams could only waive a player whose contract put them over the luxury tax threshold, or was expected to do so in the future.

    Today's version of the amnesty clause is expected to be much more broad, and useful to all teams.

    The idea is to give every team an option to waive any player, regardless of the team's cap situation. The waived players would then become unrestricted free agents and could sign with a new team, but not with their old team.

    Though the exact details of the amnesty clause are yet to be known, contending teams like Chicago will benefit the most from such a tool. Teams like Toronto have endured multiple losing seasons trying to shed dead weight salaries for cap room, but they will now have nobody to use the exception on.

    Teams like the Magic and Lakers can enjoy extended 50+ win seasons thanks to the extra cap room and cheap free agents the amnesty clause will produce.

    The Chicago Bulls really flourished last season, securing the best record in the NBA after barely squeezing by Toronto to grab the eighth seed of the playoffs the year before.

    Chicago's success was mainly due to the improved play of Derrick Rose and the addition of Carlos Boozer.

    While Boozer's contributions have been great, the team had to offer Boozer a "max" contract, which will span over five seasons. Many fans don't believe Boozer is worth his pay but still understand the Bulls had no choice but to offer that much money.

    With the possibility of an amnesty clause, the Bulls are in a very comfortable position.

    Chicago is a very attractive city for free agents, and the Bulls could waive the oft-injured Boozer for an upgrade.

    Here are some scenarios that Chicago should look into.

Kevin Love: Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Waive Carlos Boozer and sign Kevin Love



    The option to use the amnesty clause can not be restricted to a short deadline or the season will have to be erased.

    This would make Kevin Love a free agent immediately after the NBA resumes.



    The Bulls will be paying Carlos Boozer over $13.5 million next season, and he'll be owed $15 million in 2012.

    While the Bulls are currently $65 million deep in salary for this upcoming season, a smaller salary cap should be accompanied with salary rollbacks.

    Keeping this in mind, the Chicago Bulls should be able to waive Boozer to add on a new max contract player such as Kevin Love.

    Kevin Love is a double-double beast who will be a definite upgrade over Boozer.

    Love is six years younger and averaged a remarkable 15.2 rebounds along with 20 points. While Kevin Love is no Dwight Howard defensively, he doesn't need to be.

    The Chicago Bulls were the second best team defensively last season, and that was despite having a below average defender in Carlos Boozer.

    When the Bulls lost to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, defense wasn't the issue. It was offense.

    The Bulls couldn't get any good looks and their four best players (Noah, Rose, Boozer, Deng) shot a combined 37 percent from the field in that series.

    One of Kevin Love's greatest strengths is to clean up the offensive glass, making easy put-backs and tip-ins.

    Love has also proven to be durable, playing in 73 games last season.

    Getting Love is unlikely, because he is a restricted free agent and the Minnesota Timberwolves will likely match any offer handed to him. But if Kevin Love really wants out of Minnesota, they might have no choice but to let him go.

Dwight Howard: Orlando Magic

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    Waive Carlos Boozer and sign Dwight Howard



    The option to use the amnesty clause can not be restricted to a short deadline or the season will have to be erased.

    This would make Howard a free agent immediately after the NBA resumes.




    Dwight Howard only has one year left on his contract, and the Magic are a team with many old and overpaid players.

    Even if the Magic make it past the second round next year, I don't see why Howard would want to stay there if the Chicago Bulls have an opening available.

    Dwight Howard is the league's best center, and the Chicago Bulls will be unstoppable defensively with him on the roster.

    The Bulls already have center Joakim Noah, but they should have no problem trading Noah for an All-Star-level power forward, considering the great shortage of legitimate centers in the league.

    The Bulls could easily trade Noah for Paul Millsap, Andrea Bargnani, Josh Smith, and others.

    Another scenario could be to play Dwight Howard at the power forward position, giving Chicago one of the most dangerous front courts in NBA history.

    Dwight Howard is athletic and should have no problem guarding smaller power forwards, and he'll continue to dominate offensively.

    If the Bulls can add Dwight Howard and still keep Rose, Deng, and Noah, there's no reason why they can't win multiple titles together.

2 For 1?

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    Waive Carlos Boozer and C.J. Watson to make room for David West and Rodney Stuckey.



    There would have to be an amnesty clause.



    The Chicago Bulls could decide they would be better off downgrading at power forward to fill their need for a shooting guard.

    The scenario would require the Bulls to waive Carlos Boozer but also unload a contract, and I believe the best choice would be C.J Watson.

    Watson is a serviceable point guard who only received 13.3 minutes of playing time last season. Adjusting his numbers to 36 minutes of playing time, Watson averaged 13.2 points and 6.2 assists. While C.J Watson is no star, teams should be inclined to pick up his contract if Chicago offers a pick.

    With Boozer and Watson out of the way, the Bulls will have slashed $17.2 million in salary. With this money they could pursue a number of free agents this off season.

    David West is a perennial All-Star who is a prototype power forward. West can score, defend and rebound the ball, and he has been very important to the Hornets these past few years.

    Last season, West averaged 19 points and just under eight rebounds for the Hornets, who finished the season with 46 wins. One could argue that David West is just as good as Boozer, or very close.

    He is two years older, and he should cost significantly less than Boozer. Chicago is a great place for David West to win, and in an interview with the Star Ledger, West was quoted saying, "Like I said, when the time comes, we’ll see what’s out there. Again, at this point in my career, money won’t really be the number one (criterion)."

    If the Bulls could nab David West for around 55 percent of the money they're going to slash (which will be anywhere between $6-9 million per year, depending on how much the cap shrinks), that will leave another large chunk of money to spend on a shooting guard of choice.

    From there, the Bulls could pursue Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey in free agency. Stuckey was forced to play point guard for the Pistons even though to many, he's a shooting guard. Stuckey was in a terrible situation last season where he was sharing playing time with Ben Gordon, Tracey McGrady, Will Bynum, and the disgruntled Richard Hamilton.

    Team chemistry issues were a huge problem for the Pistons, and Rodney Stuckey should be thrilled at an opportunity to play for the Bulls.

    The Detroit Pistons recently drafted a very similar player to Rodney Stuckey in Brandon Knight, and it wouldn't make sense for them to match Chicago's offer. They are a rebuilding team which could spend that same money filling a position of need rather than bringing back a guard.

    The Chicago Bulls will want Stuckey, because he's one of the best shooting guards available. Many fans believe Chicago should sign mediocre players like Shannon Brown and Anthony Parker, but Stuckey would give the Bulls a legitimate starter.

    Why Stuckey?

    Though players like Jason Richardson and Jamal Crawford might be better, they are both over 30-years-old and will require a long term contract. Don't get me wrong, signing them would be great for the Bulls, but with Stuckey the Bulls will get a quality player who is just entering his prime.

    Rodney Stuckey is a good passer for a shooting guard, and his main struggles offensively were due to the fact he had to create his own shots.

    With Derrick Rose running the point, Stuckey can play his natural position at shooting guard, and he will have an easier time scoring when others set him up.

    The Chicago Bulls lacked ball movement in the playoffs, and with Stuckey they will have one of the best passing 2 guards in the league. Standing 6'5" tall, Stuckey has a sturdy frame which works well with his athleticism on the defensive end of the floor.

    If the Bulls erase Boozer and Watson and replace them with David West and Stuckey, they will have the best starting lineup in the NBA.

Keep Boozer and Cut Someone Else?

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    Waive Kyle Korver or Ronnie Brewer and sign a starting shooting guard.



    There would have to be an amnesty clause.



    This scenario is actually the most likely, and it'll work out great for the Bulls. The  Bulls could always opt not to waive Boozer and just waive Ronnie Brewer or Kyle Korver.

    Brewer and Korver will be making $4.7 million and $5 million respectively, and by using that amount in free agency, the Bulls could sign a pretty decent shooting guard.

    The Bulls could make an offer for Nick Young, Jason Richardson, Jamal Crawford, and Marcus Thornton. Of all the players mentioned, I believe Chicago is most likely to land Jason Richardson, who has expressed his desire to play for a contender.

    Young and Thornton are restricted free agents that won't be pried away easily, while Jamal Crawford might want more than Chicago can offer.

    Any of these situations still make Chicago better.


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    The Chicago Bulls don't have to do anything, but if the right conditions are met, they could dramatically improve the roster by waiving Carlos Boozer using an amnesty clause.

    It's hard to speculate over what Chicago could do with such a tool, because we don't even know if there's going be an amnesty clause to begin with, let alone the details of the rule.

    There are other factors that play into it as well.

    The Bulls are only $5 million below the tax threshold with the current CBA, but if owners reduce the salary cap without taking salary rollbacks, the Bulls could be paying the tax without even adding anybody.

    If there is an amnesty clause, the Bulls will use it to maximize their chance at an NBA title.

    By looking at some of the recent dynasties like the Detroit Pistons of the 2000s (which made it to the Eastern Conference Finals six years in a row and only won one title), it becomes easier to understand how hard it is to win a championship.

    The next CBA is being designed to help small market teams compete with the L.As and Chicagos, so the Bulls can't take what they have for granted and should do everything they can to improve the roster.

    So, what do you think? How will Chicago use an amnesty clause, and who should they cut?

    Is Carlos Boozer the obvious choice or would letting him go be a mistake? Join the conversation and leave a comment!