Boozer has been a thorn in my side ever sense there was talk of the Bulls being interested in him a couple of years ago. I protested as much as a fan could last offseason when it became clear that Boozer was again on the radar. I tossed my hands in the air in disgust on my drive home from work when I heard of the actual signing. I screamed at the radio when I heard he “tripped” over a duffle bag and broke his wrist. Sure, there were a handful of games during the regular season that he looked like a nice fit, but they were few and far between. During the playoffs his game was horrid, only overshadowed by Derrick Rose’s inability to hit a shot. Now the offseason is here again breathing down my neck. Again, the Bulls are “one player away from contending”. What now?
I know, I know, no team is going to take on that kind of money for 4 more seasons, right? I can think of but one trade option and I want to get some feedback on it.
The Orlando Magic are in a pickle right now. They have made big trades in order to keep Dwight Howard happy, but it has backfired in that the Magic went from serious contender the last couple of seasons to a 4-5 seed with no real hopes of getting back to the finals. The writing is on the wall. Again, the Magic are going to have to have to try to pull a rabbit out of the hat. Keeping Howard happy at this point is just as import as winning for the Orlando front office. Oddly, winning is about the only thing that will keep Howard happy. It is the new paradox in today’s NBA. Build a winner around your superstar in a handful of seasons or lose them in free agency. Dwight Howard has to be on the fence right now in his mind, much like LeBron was a couple of years ago and Melo was last year. Heading into the final year of his deal Howard has a lot to toil over.
It is common knowledge that Boozer and Howard are best friends. They hang out in the offseason and are very close. So would the Magic consider a deal that would bring Carlos Boozer down to Florida? What deal would work out for them? Would adding Boozer to the roster be enough to ensure that Howard sticks around? These are the big questions. Here is one proposal.
Orlando sends Brandon Bass (4M) and sign and trade Jason Richardson (9M-ish) to the Bulls for Carlos Boozer (14M).
J-Rich for 9 million per is a bit high for an aging SG, but he is a nice fit for the Bulls. He can defend and create his own shot. He might not be quite enough to push the Bulls over the hump that is the Miami Heat, but he is certainly an upgrade over Bogans, Korver, and Brewer. The Bulls would land their needed shooting guard. Brandon Bass has not really lived up to the hype that was thrown at him a few years ago, but he is still a solid big man that can defend the paint and score a bit down low. With Boozer gone Taj Gibson would take over as the starting power forward again. Gibson still has some upside and his defense alone keeps him on the floor. He simply needs to work on his offense a bit more, but even that has improved since his rookie season. The Bulls’ lineup would look like this:
PG Derrick Rose/CJ Watson
SG Jason Richardson/Ronnie Brewer
SF Luol Deng/Kyle Korver
PF Taj Gibson/Brandon Bass
C Joakim Noah/Omer Asik
This is a pretty well rounded lineup that would be better suited to battle the likes of the Miami Heat in the near future. Bulls would lose Boozer’s ability to score in the paint, but Richardson’s ability to defend the SG position, score from beyond the arc, and create more then make up for that. Noah and Gibson will also only become better scorers as they continue to grow.
On the flip side the Magic were going to lose J-Rich to free agency so in reality they are only losing Bass for Boozer. I will be the first to agree that Bass is not that much worse than Boozer, but if adding Boozer keeps Howard in a Magic uniform, then it is something the Orlando front office would have to consider. The big issue here is that the Magic would become an even more offensive minded team by adding Boozer to the mix with Turk, Arenas, and rest of the bunch. How much can Howard’s defense ability mask the rest of the team’s flaws on defense?
This brings the idea of a bigger trade to mind that might send a defender like Brewer or even Asik to the Magic in addition to Boozer for further assets. Maybe the Magic will try to force Turkoglu down the Bulls’ throat. Perhaps a deal including Turk and Richardson(S&T) for Boozer and Brewer might do the trick. The magic may simple want to ship out Turkoglu’s bad contract if they are bringing in Boozer’s bad deal. I would not blame them.
The bottom-line is that the Boozer signing was a mistake that I saw a mile away before it even happened. Now the smart move is to move him before his value drops even more. That is no easy task, but praying on a team that needs to do something to keep their superstar player happy might just do the trick. So, does a deal with the Magic make any sense to you? Can you see the Bulls moving Boozer after just one season and if you do, then what other teams make sense?