What Exactly Have The Bulls Told Carlos Boozer?

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Chicago Bulls

So apparently I missed some pretty big news while half-assedly paying attention to the Bulls game against Brooklyn last night.

While flipping back-and-forth between the Bulls and the Olympics I must have missed a sideline report from TNT’s Craig Sager that dropped a few bombs on the viewing populace.

Here’s a transcription of what Sager reported, via Blog A Bull.

“Although Carlos Boozer started all 46 games he has played this year, he is down to a career low 2.8 minutes in the 4th quarter,” reported Sager while wearing something stupid. “And after Luol Deng was traded to Cleveland earlier this year, Boozer began to wonder about his own future with the team. He told me tonight that he has been assured that he will not be traded by next week’s deadline, nor will the team buyout the final year of his contract this summer unless they can land a superstar which is too good to pass up.”

Wait, what?

The trade news isn’t a surprise, though I’m not sure why the front office would tell Carlos he won’t be traded. You never know what some team will be desperate enough to answer. I know there have been rumors — dubiously sourced rumors, mind you — about the Bulls sending Boozer to Phoenix for the expiring contract that is Emeka Okafor, and while that deal doesn’t make a lot of sense for a Bulls team that actually wants to try to win games this year, what if the Suns get desperate?

Phoenix has a lot of draft picks, after all. What if they became so desperate to improve their non-existent chances in the Western Conference that they actually included a draft pick in the deal. The Bulls would have to consider it then, right?

Still, there is no need for the Bulls to trade Boozer before the deadline. He still has value to the team, even if he’s overpaid, and you can just amnesty him in the offseason if you truly want to get rid of him.

Which brings us back to the end of Sager’s report.

“Nor will the team buyout the final year of his contract this summer UNLESS they can land a superstar which is too good to pass up.”

Boy, that’s a hell of a qualifier isn’t it? What exactly constitutes a superstar that’s too good to pass up? Carmelo? Lance Stephenson? Somewhere in between?

I don’t know.

Personally I still think the plan is to amnesty Boozer no matter what they tell him. Think about it for a minute. Boozer has already been complaining about his role shrinking as Taj Gibson gets more minutes. So if you’re Gar Forman or John Paxson and Boozer walks into your office and asks if you’re going to amnesty him, what are you going to say?

You can’t just say “fuck yeah we are. Are you kidding?” If you do that then there’s a chance Boozer goes into “not-give-a-shit” mode for the rest of the season, and you don’t want that. And you can’t tell him you aren’t going to amnesty him because then you’re limiting your options going forward for no real reason.

So what you do is you tell him you aren’t going to amnesty him UNLESS someone too good to pass up comes along. That way you’re not really answering anything. You’re basically shrugging and saying maybe. That way when you do amnesty him you haven’t lied to anybody, and if you don’t amnesty him you kept your word and there are no hard feelings.

But I hope there are hard feelings. I know there’s a chance the Bulls start next season with Carlos Boozer still on the roster, I just choose to ignore the possibility. I’d like to think that eventually the organization will understand doing the same thing over and over again isn’t going to produce different results.

Then again, that’s not much different from trying to convince yourself this organization can change.

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