Would you amnesty Boozer, Deng, Noah, or no one?

Let's say for a moment that the NBA and players agree on a hard cap around 70 million that phases in over the next three seasons. An amnesty clause is put in in order to help teams adhere to the new hard cap. Should and would the Bulls use the clause?

Presently, the Bulls have three guaranteed deals totaling a shade over 40 million in three seasons:
Carlos Boozer: 15.3 million + 1 year remaining 16.8 million
Luol Deng: 14.275 million (expiring)
Joakim Noah: 11.1 million + 2 years remaining at 12.2, and 13.4 million

For arguments sake, let's assume that Derrick Rose is owed 13.4 million in this season with one season left at 14 million [based on a one year decrease in contract length and a new rule putting max contracts starting at 12 million].

The Bulls will then have about 54 million locked into those four players with only 16 million left to fill out the rest of the team.

Without a veteran exception to go over the 70 million with vet minimum contracts the Bulls would need to fill out nine roster spaces with that 16 million, or in other words, they could afford to play two players about 5.5 million a piece and then try and fill out the remaining 7 spots at the vet minimum.

You can keep two guys for depth with this line up, so two of (Gibson, Asik, Korver, Brewer, and a yet unknown SG (JR Smith, Jason Richardson, Nick Young perhaps etc..), but everyone else will be at the vet minimum.

Vet minimum fourth big man, backup SF, PG etc...

The Bulls would be freed up with considerable room the following season with Luol Deng's contract coming off the books and him possibly resigning for far less or just leaving salary space to be replaced by someone else, unfortunately, Gibson and Asik will need to be extended prior to that point, so keeping the big four means one of those guys has to leave. Same with Korver, Brewer, and Watson.

The alternative is to use an amnesty clause [if a hard cap comes into play, you can bet one will exist in some way] to stay under the cap. Who do you target?

Luol Deng is probably safe given that he's expiring anyway, so he doesn't free up much in the long haul for you which leaves Boozer and Noah as the prime candidates.

Of the two, the Bulls probably need Boozer's offense more than Noah's defense, but his pay rate is higher, his age is worse, he's more likely to decline, and his defensive aptitude doesn't fit in with the rest of the team as much.

Joakim Noah does have the additional year of guaranteed money which is perhaps the only thing working against him in this discussion.

Even so, I think Boozer is the obvious candidate in this instance. Losing his 15.3 million gives the Bulls about 31 million to spend on other players. As such, they can now take that list we pick two guys from and instead pick four to five guys.

In the end, you're probably gaining 2-3 quality depth options for Carlos Boozer if he's amnestied. Despite the fact that they need his scoring, and I believe he can perform much better than he did last playoffs, that's a choice you make if it's on the board.

Fortunately, if a hard cap does come, some version of the amnesty clause or non-guaranteed contracts will have to come with it by necessity rather than a one time use like the last agreement. As such, the Bulls would likely wait until the last minute before having to execute such a clause.


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  • Definitely Boozer. And only because we have Taj. Obviously, Taj isn't as good on the offensive end, but he's just as good of a rebounder (and a better "tough rebounds" rebounder and a very good defender. Couple that with the identity of the team (perimeter oriented offense, primary focus on defense) and Boozer just doesn't really fit to a T. That said, Boozer - when healthy - does bring the post scoring which nobody else on the team is really capable of doing, but I think in the current NBA (with the hand-check rule), the balance of importance of the positions has swung toward perimeter players and if we could magically transform Boozer into an equivalent offense-only SG I'd have to think about it. Also, as you mentioned, Boozer's age doesn't bode well given his injury history and I think it's pretty safe to say that he's hit his ceiling as a basketball player. I hope that's not the case with Taj, Noah or Deng.

  • I agree with Doug that Deng is a better candidate for amnesty than Boozer. The Bulls just cannot lose both of them when there was such a big problem of talent acquisition for the last few years. Boozer/Deng are great as support players but not as a all-around 2nd option.

    Looking at the dis-interest other teams had in Deng and him being more connected to the Bulls, he will probably resign with the Bulls if amnestied. I am not sure about Boozer resigning if he is amnestied and with his history from Cleveland days....it can be back to Summer of 2010 again for the Bulls.
    I hope Gar makes his decisions based on talent and cap-space/FA and not saving money for Reinsdorf.

  • Using the amnesty clause makes no sense with the Bulls. Assuming you only get one, which is a pretty strong assumption, cutting lose one of our big contract guys would NOT give us cap space to sign a bigtime free agent, it would only lower our payroll. Make no sense.

  • In reply to Dajody1:

    Well the point of the article would be whether to use an amnesty clause in order to keep multiple decent players rather than Boozer.

  • Amnesty Noah or Boozer, I would take Boozer, b/c he doesn't really fit in, as you described and if we don't amnesty Boozer we will pretty sure lose Taj and Taj as a starter is lots better than Taj the benchplayer. I like him as a replacement for Boozer, even though he may not put up the bigger points, he won't give up as many points and he won't give up any momentum. Carlos gives up momentum lots of times and it costed in the playoffs.
    I don't really like Boozer in our team and if there is some remote possibilty we could upgrade our SG position in a big way with money that comes from a Boozer amnesty I'm all for it.

  • I'd also make the point that Noah is going to be a lot more tradeable than Boozer, both now and in the future. So, if for some reason you eventually needed to get rid of both, I think it would be easier to amnesty Boozer and trade Noah for expirings or whatever than the other way around.

  • This topic does bring to mind of who the Bulls value most after Rose. Before the season it was Noah and Rose seen as the foundation. Now after the season and with Deng assuming the defender and glue guy that Thibodeau can't live without makes him the clear cut number 2 guy going forward. This brings up some interesting questions, Do the Bulls trade Noah for a Joe Johnson if that ever became available? Of course this assumes that Asik makes progress in his second year. If it was to me, I'm sticking with Noah because Asik has not proven durability....he's also injury prone and has bad hands/no offensive skills and his conditioning is still not there. Anyway you get rid of Boozer since Noah is a very valuable trade asset and so is Luol Deng.....both still in the mid 20s and in their primes. Boozer is in decline....we can only hope he declines slowly.

  • Boozer is the obvious one to go, but he is the one that will cost the most cash to amensty, over $30 million for the last 2 years of his deal. Will Reinsdorf give away that much money to a player not to play.

    Remember he is the one who said right to Jordans face when Jordan signed his $30 million dollar one year deal, "I bet that I am going to regret this"

    Unless Noah totally craps out in the next few years, there is no way you amesty him, given his contract is the smallest and he plays a position that is the hardest to fill talent wise.

    deng will probably be close to 40 years old come that final year of his contract, and is still nothing more than an average talent at small forward. If Bozo wasn't a complete slug I would amnesty Deng first, but as long as we are stuck with Bozo, Deng is safe

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