Carlos Boozer for Andrea Bargnani? Pau Gasol? Josh Smith? It’s hard to believe what one year can do for a player, but Carlos Boozer actually has a little bit of trade value this year. Just last year, if the Bulls would have been offered Eddy Curry, heck even “Mr. Cooper” Mark Curry(I’ll take Mark in a 1 on 1 game with Eddy), most fans would have screamed “Do it!” The opportunity is out there for the Bulls to get out of this contract, and they have to take advantage of it.
There’s no doubt that Carlos is having a “solid season,” but he’s never going to live up to his 6 year $70 million dollar contract. He’s had flashes this season, showing the ability to score, but his inconsistency is maddening. His scoring and rebounding are both up, but they still don’t compare to his numbers prior to his time in Chicago. He never was a great leaper, but he has very little lift left in his legs and his skills are only going to deteriorate the next couple years.
The three players being discussed would all bring plenty of intrigue to the Bulls. Pau Gasol is the best fit, but he too is aging. Gasol would bring the low post presence the Bulls would need to compete with the Heat, and would be a nice compliment to Derrick and Joakim. But there is one big problem, it’s highly doubtful the Lakers would take Boozer back in this deal. With Mike D’Antoni running the show, he likes bigs that can stretch the floor and shoot from the perimeter. Nobody has ever considered Carlos a threat from the perimeter.
Atlanta Hawks’ ultra-talented Josh Smith is also on the block. The thought of having an athletic wing player like Smith with Derrick Rose is very appealing. Smith has a boatload of ability and could be a top player if a coach could get through to him. That’s where Thibodeau comes in. Under Coach Thibs tutelage, Josh Smith could finally turn into the force he should be. At 6’9 with his wingspan, he has the ability to dominate on the defensive end and get any shot he wants. Smith is an 8 year veteran, but he’s only 27, with lots of basketball ahead of him. The major question with him, is can he co-exist with a coach like Thibs? Smith, at times, possesses the same selfishness as Nate Robinson, which all Bulls fans know, isn’t one of Thibs’ favorite players.
The last guy being discussed is the former number 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani. Bargnani, like Smith, is 27 and has lots of ability. At 7’0, he has the ability to stretch the defense with his perimeter shooting. If there’s one thing the Bulls need, it’s scoring, and Bargnani can provide that. He’s having one of his poorest season this year (14.8 pts a game/29% from 3pt), but a change of scenery could do him wonders. Paring him up with Derrick Rose would open the lane for D-Rose to drive and dish. The combo of Rose, Noah, and Bargnani could cause matchup nightmares for Eastern Conference foes for years to come.
Making one of these deals would do three things for the Bulls: provide them with a player who fits into their long term plans, shed Boozer’s bad contract, and give Taj Gibson more opportunity. While two of the three players above also play the power forward position, they also can slide to center, something Boozer cannot. Giving Taj more playing time is something the Bulls would like to do, but it’s hard with both Noah and Boozer on the roster.
If GarPax is able to pull off a deadline deal involving Boozer for one of the three players mentioned above, it would be a major coup. If it means involving others on the roster, or future draft picks, the Bulls have to make this move. While none of these moves are going to bring the Bulls a championship this year, it does bring them closer to one in the coming years. Bulls fans, be ready to be glued to Twitter on Thursday, and let’s hope Gar Forman and John Paxson can get the job done on Thursday.
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