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News » Boozer would help Bulls in the long run

Boozer would help Bulls in the long run

Boozer would help Bulls in the long run
While Bulls management headed to Las Vegas on Sunday for the NBA summer league, trade talks involving Utah power forward Carlos Boozer took a vacation.

Everything is on hold until the Jazz decides whether or not to match Portland?s offer sheet for Paul Millsap. There have been many suggestions that Utah would prefer to keep Millsap and trade Boozer. But unless the Jazz can find a way to trim its payroll, matching Millsap will result in an $11 million luxury-tax bill next year.

The Bulls remain interested in acquiring Boozer, who is one of the league?s best low-post scorers when healthy, but there is no telling how this might play out.

First of all, Portland?s pursuit of Millsap was a bit of a head-scratcher. The Blazers are one of the league?s brightest young teams, but have two spots that could use an upgrade ? point guard and small forward.

Portland could have chased a couple of unrestricted free agents to fill one of those holes, such as Lakers forward Lamar Odom or Philadelphia point guard Andre Miller. Instead, they gave Millsap an offer sheet worth a reported $32 million over four years.

There is little chance Millsap could play at the same time as LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden. Are the Blazers admitting that Oden (5.0 points, 4.3 minutes in the playoffs against Houston) might be a bust? Or Aldridge (7.5 rebounds per game) is too soft?

According to reports, the Millsap offer sheet includes a signing bonus and a $10.3-million payment is due in the first week of the contract. Assuming the Jazz has good credit, that?s still a reasonable price for someone who averaged 16.0 points and 10.3 rebounds in 38 games as a starter last season.

There may be a decent chance Utah will match the offer sheet. If it doesn?t, Boozer could leave as a free agent next summer and the Jazz wouldn?t have either of its power forwards.

That proposed three-way trade that would have sent Kirk Hinrich to Portland and Tyrus Thomas to Utah may not have gotten very far, but it was an indication that the Bulls are thinking big in 2010.

By acquiring Boozer and trading Hinrich, the Bulls could be in an envious position, with two stars on board and the chance to have enough cap room to chase one of the prime free agents next summer.

Look at it this way: Miami will have enough cap room to pair Boozer with Dwyane Wade next summer. But if the Bulls ? plan works, they could offer Wade the chance to play with both Boozer and Derrick Rose. Atlanta?s Joe Johnson, another 2010 free agent, could also be a target.

To get Boozer this summer, though, the Bulls might have to help Utah find a way to reduce its payroll and the options are dwindling.

If the Jazz match the Millsap offer sheet, Portland could turn to Odom, Miller or New York restricted free agent David Lee to fill its cap room. The Blazers remain interested in Hinrich, according to league sources, so maybe the three-team deal with Utah could be resurrected.

The Blazers could also give back the expiring contracts of Travis Outlaw and Steve Blake for Hinrich at any time until the trade deadline if the Bulls are serious about creating more cap room next summer.

If Portland refuses to cooperate, then Oklahoma City is pretty much the only other option for Utah to unload salary. Memphis had cap room, but it will be gone if the Grizzlies follow through on plans to trade for Zach Randolph from the Clippers and make a free agent offer to Allen Iverson. Yeah, I don?t get it, either.

The Thunder has roughly $9 million in cap room to absorb salary. One way a trade could happen would be for the Bulls to send Tyrus Thomas to Oklahoma, then Tim Thomas and Aaron Gray to Utah. The Jazz doesn?t get much in return for Boozer, but could cut its tax bill by $5 million.

Another option is for Utah and the Bulls to send enough cash for the Thunder to accept Kyle Korver?s $5.15 million contract from the Jazz. If Utah decides it can endure the tax hit, it might find a better deal for Boozer from a team besides the Bulls .

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: July 14, 2009


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