Carlos Boozer Signs with Chicago
After missing out on Chris Bosh & Dwyane Wade to the Miami Heat, the Chicago Bulls did obtain a top free agent after all, landing Carlos Boozer as he and the team agreed to a 5 year/$80M contract on Wednesday. The contract became official at 12:01am on Thursday.
The move leaves room for the Bulls to make a splash to one more big player. They believe the are still in the running for LeBron James, who will make his decision on a primetime special on ESPN and announce where he is heading (or staying).
With the signing of Boozer, the Bulls front court improves even without James, as he joins Luol Deng and Joakim Noah, and of course with point guard Derrick Rose, the team's standing in the Eastern Conference improves after two 41-41 seasons under former head coach Vinny Del Negro, who was fired by Chicago, but was ultimately hired to be the head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers. The Bulls replaced Del Negro with head coach Tom Thibodeau, who is widely expected to improve the defensive mindset of this team.
Boozer's decision comes after he averaged 19.5 points and 11.2 rebounds per game this past season with the Utah Jazz. Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan wanted Boozer to return to Salt Lake City, proclaiming that you do not get a player like that too often. But Boozer's clashing with management and only playing three full seasons out of the six he spent (others hampered due to injuries), led to wide speculation that his time was up in Utah.
Now with the power forward situation assessed, and the possibility of not picking up LeBron, the Bulls can go after another former Jazz player, Kyle Korver, or Mike Miller to address their needs at shooting guard. The Bulls traded Kirk Hinrich and the 17th pick (Kevin Serpahin) to Washington for nothing to free up cap space. That transaction as well became official at 12:01am Thursday.
(photo courtesy of the Associated Press)