It’s almost been a forgone conclusion, for the past year and a half, that the Chicago Bulls are going to use their amnesty clause on Carlos Boozer.
Whispers have been leaked and reports have been dropped, however, it just hasn’t happened yet. Though, it looks like this offseason, it likely will — and Boozer knows exactly that. But instead of worrying about it, or letting it effect his play, he’s doing the opposite of that.
“I’m not worried about that,” Boozer said. “I’m just focused on what’s in front of me. All that stuff will take care of itself in the summertime.”
Boozer has played exactly 24 minutes — the entire first and third quarter — for nine straight games, a revolving role he called “challenging.”
“I’ve just adjusted,” Boozer said. “I’m doing whatever I can to help my team in the minutes I’m out there. I’m being a team player. It’s all about winning. You make sacrifices for the betterment of the group. That’s what we’re all doing.
“Each night, there are different challenges depending on matchups and how often you touch the ball because that varies. But the intensity is always there. The passion is always there. Playing hard to win is always there. The numbers may vary, but the winning part is always there.”
Boozer is expected to hit the Bulls $16.8 million against the cap next season, if the Bulls decide not to amnesty him. Though, the prevailing opinion is that they will — unless some unforeseeable action happens. The original report of the Bulls’ plans to amnesty Boozer surface earlier this season, in January.
The Bulls’ game-plan for the immediate future is coming into focus. League sources with knowledge of Chicago’s plans say that they’ll definitely be looking to deal Luol Deng before the Feb. 20 trading deadline. Deng is a free agent this summer and the Bulls don’t want to pay him anything close to top dollar. The second part of their house-cleaning: They intend on using their amnesty move this coming summer to part ways with Carlos Boozer. Boozer is scheduled to make $16.8 million next season. As we reported earlier, Derrick Rose has caught wind of the plans and is none too thrilled about being part of a rebuilding project. Tom Thibodeau won’t be very happy with it, either.
Boozer is averaging 13.7 points and 8.3 rebounds this season in Chicago — his lowest totals since joining the Bulls back in 2010.