COMMENTARY – Carlos Boozer has been the inside presence, or lack there of, for the Chicago Bulls since signing a 5-year, $80 million contract in the summer of 2010.
After losing out on the LeBron James sweepstakes, along with Amar’e Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade, Chicago felt the need to use their cap flexibility for a contributing superstar. Coming off a season where he averaged 19.5 points and 11.2 rebounds and shooting 56% from the field in his final year in Utah, Boozer was believed to be a key component in helping to make the Bulls title contenders.
For the most part, the belief proved itself as the Bulls made it to the Eastern Conference finals in Boozer’s first year as a Bull. Chicago has not been there since. Now, going into his fourth year in Chicago, Boozer and his hefty contract may be seeing an end to his time in the Windy City.
Carlos hasn’t been the same productive force he was in Utah, which is mainly the result of a personnel change at point guard. Deron Williams, now with the Brooklyn Nets, was more of a pass-first point guard whose dribble penetration led to easier baskets for Boozer.
Rose, on the other hand, looks to leap over or maneuver through defenders on his way to the basket, leaving Boozer to fend for himself and get baskets anyway possible. When the ball is in Boozer’s hand to score, he is quite effective, but not dominant. Last season’s averages of 16.2 points and 9.8 rebounds were impressive for Booz, but he did it at a less than stellar 49% field-goal rate. Taj Gibson is also waiting in the wings to take over the starting power-forward position. As Boozer ages and his contribution decreases, he could end up somewhere other than Chicago, whether it be through trade or the amnesty clause.
The arrival of Carlos Boozer in 2010 was not an appealing sight for me. I’ve so long wondered when Chicago would rid itself of Boozer, and his time may now be coming to an end. With two years remaining on his contract, it’d be hard to see Carlos in a Bulls uniform for the remaining time.
As a Bulls fan, it has been painstakingly awful to see Carlos Boozer under-produce on a team looking to expand. His departure will not bring a tear to my eye, but a smile to my face.
Shawn lives in Illinois and has been following the Chicago Bulls since the twin tower force of Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry. He also studies Sports Communication at Bradley University. Follow him on Twitter and subscribe to his blog.