Keith Bogans may be the odd man out of the Chicago Bulls lineup, but Carlos Boozer isn't far behind.
Despite averaging 17.5 points and 9.6 rebounds per game last season, Boozer proved to be both a liability in terms of durability and defense. As a result, Chicago may be open to moving the power forward and his lucrative contract.
While Boozer can still be effective offensively, his contract is anything but favorable, and if the postseason was an indication of things to come, there is nothing impressive on the horizon.
That being said, there are still a number of teams that may be willing to take a risk on Boozer.
That being said, Orlando is limited in what they can do thanks to the bloated contracts of Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas. It is unlikely Chicago agrees to take either back in return, but the Magic still may be willing to carry the financial burden if it gives them a fighting chance at Howard.
J.J. Redick could be the centerpiece of any deal they put together, as he makes a good amount at $6.5 million, helping the deal match financially. He also helps fill the void at shooting guard for the Bulls.
Additionally, should the Magic eventually concede and agree to deal Howard, the Bulls may be able to work Boozer into any deal they propose, provided they take back Turkoglu.
In Boozer, the Magic obtain either another star to entice Howard to stay or a pillar of offense to help heal the wounds left by their center's departure.
Is Boozer's contract ideal for Orlando? Not at all, but it may prove to be a necessary evil as they move forward, regardless of whether or not that includes Howard.
Either scenario is one the Bulls may potentially welcome.
The Charlotte Bobcats may boast a budding star in D.J. Augustin, and they got their guy in Kemba Walker, but there is a clear need for some more star power.
If the Bobcats are serious about becoming relevant soon, and want to give Augustin a reason to remain after next season, Boozer may be the potentially explosive scorer they need.
Tyrus Thomas is athletic, but he is volatile and inconsistent, and who knows how long it will take or if Bismack Biyombo will ever develop into anything significant. Boozer is a risk, but he can still score at least.
It is unlikely the Bulls are willing to take back Thomas, as they already know what a head case he can be, but if Michael Jordan is willing to take the risk, Boris Diaw's expiring contract would be a good starting point. Corey Maggette's inclusion may also be a viable option, and while he is expensive, he is only on the books for two more seasons.
Boozer is not incapable, but his defensive deficiencies are a liability the Bulls can no longer afford. His offense is welcomed, but not a necessity on such an already talented offensive team.
The Bobcats could be a team that are willing to put up with Boozer's defensive ineptitude in order to gain a much-needed scoring punch.
The Denver Nuggets are immersed in uncertainty, which could make them amenable ot taking on a player wiht proven production like Boozer.
Danilo Gallinari and Ty Lawson are promising youngsters, but they need leadership. Al Harrington can score but he is no leader, and with three of Denver's free agents having already bolted fo rChina, the Nuggets could be in the market for a talented veteran.
Denver's first and second priorities will be determining the futures of Nene Hilario and Arron Afflalo, but if either, or both, decide they want to start anew with a contender, the Nuggets will become that much more desperate. This especially true if Nene is the one to walk.
Nene is only 29, but this will most likely be his last long term contract, a deal he may not want to ink wiht a rebuilding team. If he leaves, so does any low-post production.
Boozer is not a defensive stalwart, but neither is Nene. No, he's not a center, but he crashes the boards and when healthy, can score in the post as well as any big man.
After the Kenyon Martin disaster, many may believe that the Nuggets are unlikely to take a chance on an expensive, oft-injured power forward, but Boozer's production when healthy is at least consistent.
Furthermore, Boozer's contract only has four more years remaining as opposed to seven, and after all the money they poured into Martin, Boozer's contract may not seem so bad.
The Detroit Pistons are not so clearly rebuilding. While the team is need of some serious restructuring, their current direction is unclear.
Acquiring Carlos Boozer helps give the Pistons a direction and a player who they can build around. Boozer is 29, but for the time being, he could serve as the go-to guy until the younger players are ready to step up.
Boozer also enables the Pistons to be somewhat competitive and gives fans a proven talent to come watch.
Detroit wants to rid themselves of Richard Hamilton and his contract, and while Boozer is more expensive, they may be willing to embark on such a swap given their desperate need for a strong low-post presence.
The deal makes sense for the Bulls because Hamilton comes off the books in two years, but is still a capable scorer, thus filling the void at shooting guard.
If the Pistons really want to, they could try and attempt to include Charlie Villanueva since he comes cheaper than Boozer, but even if they can't, a Hamilton for Boozer swap is justifiable.
And one that both teams could potentially embrace.
Every move the New Jersey Nets make from here on out will be with regards to both the futures of Howard and Deron Williams.
This means New Jersey could serve as a viable dumping ground for Chicago.
Williams is unlikely to remain with the Nets long term unless they can pair him with another star. Brook Lopez is promising, but lacks dominance.
Should the Nets prove willing—and Mikhail Prokhorov seems willing to do anything—to take on Boozer's contract, such a reunion gives Williams a dominant Lopez target to dish off to.
Furthermore, it is believed that Boozer is among the list of players Howard prefers to play with.
Such a deal would cost the Nets Anthony Morrow and fillers to make the numbers match, but it may be worth it in the long run, especially given it most likely leaves them both Jordan Farmar and Brook Lopez, allowing them to put together a viable package for Howard.
Do the Bulls acquire anyone spectacular in return? No, but Morrow would certainly ease their shooting guard woes.
It may be a move that brings the Nets closer to obtaining Howard, but shedding Boozer's contract opens a door of possibilities for the Bulls.
You can follow Dan Favale on Twitter here @Dan_Favale.