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Bulls use amnesty clause to cut Boozer

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bulls said goodbye to forward Carlos Boozer on Tuesday, using the amnesty clause to cut the veteran forward after four seasons with the team.

Boozer came to Chicago in a sign-and-trade deal with Utah in July 2010. The two-time All-Star averaged 15.5 points and nine rebounds in 280 games with the Bulls.

He had one season left on a five-year deal worth roughly $75 million. The amnesty clause allows a team to waive one player during the current labor deal and have 100 percent of his salary taken off the cap and the tax. The 6-foot-9 power forward is still owed the money.

“Carlos epitomized professionalism in everything he did for the Bulls both on the court, and in the community, during his time here in Chicago,” general manager Gar Forman said in a release. “Over the last four seasons, Carlos’ productivity helped elevate our team to another level. I have nothing but respect for Carlos, and certainly wish him the best as he moves forward.”

The 32-year-old Boozer took to Twitter to thank the team for his four seasons with Chicago.

The Bulls also waived forward Lou Amundson and guards Ronnie Brewer and Mike James as they continue to clear salary-cap space for the signing of free-agent center Pau Gasol and the first NBA contract for 2011 draft pick Nikola Mirotic.

Chicago made two trades on Monday. It sent forward Anthony Randolph, two second-round draft picks and cash considerations to Orlando for the rights to Milovan Rakovic. It also traded forward Greg Smith to Dallas for the rights to Tadija Dragicevic

 

Chicago Bulls Make Hard Pitch to Carmelo Anthony

The Chicago Bulls are making the hard sell for Carmelo Anthony.

The Knicks superstar free agent arrived at a decked-out United Center on Tuesday in a limobus with coach Tom Thibodeau and two other people, a police SUV trailing behind.

Anthony walked past the Michael Jordan statue, waving to a small group of cheering fans as he went inside.

The Bulls believe they have a strong pitch and a simple selling point: Anthony can transform a playoff team into a championship contender.

They believe uniting Anthony with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, who arrived earlier at the arena, would put them in position to contend for their first title since Jordan and Scottie Pippen led the way to two three-peats in the 1990s. And they certainly made their feelings clear on Tuesday, turning the arena into one giant welcome mat.

Two giant digital images above the entrance on Madison Street showed Anthony in a Bulls No. 7 jersey dribbling next to a championship trophy, fans stopping to take pictures. Another image around the corner also showed him in a jersey dribbling.

Signs wrapping around corners of the building and stacked on top of each other read, “Carmelo Anthony and Chicago basketball” and “Melo” with a cropped Bulls logo.

Still, Anthony is a top target in NBA free agency and he is expected to visit other teams.

Carmelo Anthony race to Chicago

Carmelo Anthony has yet to publicly reveal the process by which he plans to entertain other teams in free agency now that he has opted out of his contract with the New York Knicks, but the Chicago BullsHouston RocketsDallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers are among the teams that expect to have the opportunity to make their pitch to him starting July 1, according to sources close to the situation.

Teams can’t formally contact free agents until 12:01 a.m. ET July 1, but sources told ESPN.com that the Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat are two more teams that could join the race for Anthony, depending on how things play out before, during and after Thursday’s NBA draft.

The Bulls are widely regarded as the early favorite to steal Anthony from the Knicks, with sources saying Monday that Chicago has been quietly planning for this free-agent pursuit for months, going back to the January trade of Luol Deng to Cleveland. Sources say every move Chicago made during the season’s second half — including the seemingly minor signings of veterans Ronnie BrewerLou Amundson and Mike James to very tradeable contracts — was made with the hope they might be helpful in a potential sign-and-trade with the Knicks for Anthony.

 

 

Sources say the Rockets, meanwhile, have begun working on trade exits for center Omer Asik and point guard Jeremy Lin to clear enough space under the salary cap to make a representative offer to Anthony. The Rockets have been confident for some time, sources say, that they can not only move both players if necessary in deals that create the requisite flexibility but also rival the Bulls’ sales pitch.

The Lakers are in the advantageous position of having enough room under the salary cap to make a maximum offer to Anthony without having to clear any salary, but it is believed Anthony would want them to strengthen their roster before he would seriously consider a move to L.A. Sources say the Lakers, to that end, have been exploring their options with the No. 7 pick in Thursday’s draft and have told teams they are prepared to package the pick with the expiring contract of Steve Nash (owed $9.7 million next season) for the right offer.

ESPNDallas.com reported Sunday that the Mavericks, armed with plenty of cap space themselves, likewise expect to be granted a face-to-face sit-down with Anthony. Yet Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki, who also is bound for free agency July 1, has acknowledged that the Bulls and Rockets have better odds of prying Anthony out of New York, labeling Dallas’ chances “not really” realistic.

Earlier this month, ESPN.com reported the Heat had begun internal discussions about pursuing the former scoring champion to try to grow their Big Three into a Big Four, but the Heat could pursue Anthony only if LeBron JamesChris Bosh and Dwyane Wade opt out of their current deals later this week and are willing to take less money to re-sign and play alongside Anthony. Heat president Pat Riley has since confirmed the club has pondered pursuing Anthony but conceded the scenario is a “pipe dream” given the financial complexities involved.

The Hawks would have to clear approximately $10 million to $12 million in salary-cap space to pursue Anthony, but sources indicate that is one of the many options Atlanta is considering, making it a sleeper team to watch.

Anthony is eligible to sign a maximum contract worth $129 million over the next five seasons with the Knicks. A max deal with a new team is $96 million over four years.

“Carmelo loves being a Knick, he loves the city and he loves the fans,” Leon Rose, Anthony’s agent, said Monday. “At this stage of his career, he just wants to explore his options.”

In an online interview that aired Monday, Anthony said uprooting his family to another city could not be dismissed as a factor amid the rising speculation about the Bulls’ desire to team him with Derrick RoseJoakim Noah and hard-driving coach Tom Thibodeau.

In the interview with Vice Sports taped June 3, Anthony said: “The average person just sees the opportunity to say that, ‘Oh, Melo should go here, Melo should go there. I think he should do this, I think he should do that.’ But they don’t take into consideration the family aspect of it. Your livelihood. Where you’re going to be living at. Do you want your kids to grow up in that place? In that city? Do I want to spend the rest of my career in that situation in that city? So all of that stuff comes into play.

 

 

 

“My son goes to school [in New York]. He loves it here. To take him out and take him somewhere else, he has to learn that system all over again, he has to get new friends. And I know how hard it was for me when I moved from New York to Baltimore at a young age. Having to work your way to try to make friends.

“As far as this goes, basketball goes, it’s hard to just say, ‘OK, I’m going to go here, I’m going to make this decision, I’m going to do that.’ Because everybody’s affected by that.”

New Knicks president Phil Jackson tried for weeks to convince Anthony to opt in for the final season on his current contract and delay his free agency until the summer of 2015. But Anthony maintained all season that he intended to become a free agent this summer and, according to a report last week from ESPN New York’s Ian Begley, already has begun researching the city of Chicago.

Thibodeau, meanwhile, has reached out to some of Anthony’s former coaches to inquire about the seven-time All-Star, according to a recent report in the Chicago Sun-Times. And ESPN.com reported in March that Anthony and Noah talked about playing under Thibodeau during the All-Star break in a conversation that turned into a recruiting pitch from Noah to Anthony.

Jackson said late last month that he’s “not losing sleep” over Anthony’s free agency but is “definitely concerned” about the idea of Anthony signing elsewhere. Anthony has said publicly that he would like to stay in New York but also wants to be in position to win an NBA championship.

The Knicks are coming off a 37-45 season under the fired Mike Woodson and don’t have salary-cap space to seriously retool the roster around Anthony until the summer of 2015.

Information from ESPNNewYork.com’s Ian Begley and ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst was used in this report.

Report: Chicago Bulls ‘Aggressively’ Trying to Trade Picks for Veteran Scorer

Report: Chicago Bulls 'Aggressively' Trying to Trade Picks for Veteran Scorer

 

The Chicago Bulls have had trouble scoring for a while now, relying on their defensive excellence as they make playoff pushes in the wake of injuries.

But for general manager Gar Forman and the rest of the Chi-Town front office, it’s time to make some changes. So long as Tom Thibodeau is running the show on the sidelines, the defense is going to be fantastic in the Windy City.

Now, more offense is needed, and the Bulls have a plan.

“Chicago is aggressively trying to move its two first-round picks, according to rival executives,” reports Chris Mannix for Sports Illustrated. “The Bulls are believed to be looking for either a veteran scorer or the chance to move up in the draft to select a young wing player with scoring potential.”

Weeks prior to the June 26 festivities, the Bulls hold the No. 16 and No. 19 picks in the 2014 NBA draft, the former coming from the Charlotte Hornets as payment for the Tyrus Thomas trade back in 2010.

 

Brock Williams-Smith/Getty Images

 

With Derrick Rose set to return from injury, Tony Snell carving out a larger role in the Chicago rotation and European big man Nikola Mirotic potentially joining the team after finishing up his career with Real Madrid, the Bulls already have enough incoming boosts. They don’t need to add two rookies, even in a class this stacked with quality talent.

 

 

Trading up and acquiring a young wing player like Michigan’s Nik Stauskas or Michigan State’s Gary Harris would be beneficial, but not quite as helpful as landing that veteran scorer that Mannix references. This is a team that should be trying to win right now, after all.

According to Basketball-Reference, the Bulls scored just 102.5 points per 100 possessions during the 2013-14 campaign, leaving them ahead of only the Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers. They relied far too heavily on mid-range jumpers, and the addition of a scoring wing would not only help increase the success rate of those shots, but also make the three-point bomb more of a weapon.

“A huge part of the Bulls’ struggles on offense was their poor outside shooting,” writes Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey. “They were 24th in the league in three-point percentage at 34.8 and 27th in threes made per game at 6.2.”

 

USA TODAY Sports

 

82games.com shows that the wing positions—typically the lineup slots most responsible for outside shooting—were the weakest ones for the Chicago offense. While power forward and center produced respective player efficiency ratings of 15.9 and 19.2, the PERs for shooting guard and small forward were 13.2 and 12.9, both decidedly below the league average of 15.

That’s not going to cut it.

So does “veteran scorer” mean Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James?

 

Probably not, though Chicago certainly wouldn’t complain about receiving that kind of offseason upgrade if either superstar opted out and seriously considered joining the Bulls. Realistically, this perennial playoff squad is looking at adding a mid-level player who can serve as a secondary scoring threat, as that’s about the most two non-lottery picks could get, even in a strong draft class.

Nonetheless, a Thibodeau-coached Chicago team with more offensive capability is a scary concept for the rest of the Eastern Conference.

Actually, scratch that. It’s a terrifying thought for the whole NBA.

Chicago Bulls Willing to Trade Any Player Except Derrick Rose To Land Carmelo, LeBron or Love

Anthony x Rose

 

The Chicago Bulls always seem to be one additional scorer away from being a championship contender and now they’re willing to move whatever pieces they have to, to get it, excluding Derrick Rose of course.

Ideally the Bulls would need to build around former MVP Derrick Rose (hoping he can stay healthy) and Defensive Player of the Year, Joakim Noah.  They’re hoping to add Carmelo Anthony as that last vital piece and there’s several ways they can do it.

via Chicago Sun Times.

According to several NBA sources Sunday, the Bulls have been actively looking to improve the starting lineup at almost any cost, with Derrick Rose the only untouchable player — and not by choice.

“They are looking to exhaust as many assets as it will take,’’ one source said of general manager Gar Forman and head of basketball operations John Paxson….

Carmelo Anthony is still Plan A as the Bulls and the rest of the NBA await to see if the Knicks forward will opt out of his contract. But the Bulls are more active in their pursuit of Kevin Love than initially rumored. Also, don’t rule out LeBron James coming into play again if the four-time MVP opts out of his deal.

 

It’s long been assumed that they would amnesty Carlos Boozer but trading away Taj Gibson would be a big loss.  It’s a loss that many consider worth it.  Of course it would help the Bulls tremendously if they land one of the big aforementioned stars but you don’t want to lose depth.  A good bench is also important *cough* Heat v. Spurs *cough*.

– Shaina Auxilly (@Shay_Marie)

Bulls Trade Rumors Tracker: Latest Updates Ahead of 2014 NBA Trade Deadline

Bulls Trade Rumors Tracker: Latest Updates Ahead of 2014 NBA Trade Deadline

Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

The Chicago Bulls’ hopes for competing as a power in the Eastern Conference were gashed early in the NBA season, but the team is still in playoff contention and is looking to make moves to improve in the future.

The loss of Derrick Rose back in late November turned Chicago’s season from one of hope to just another one spent waiting for its superstar to return.

Though it might not actually come to fruition if the Bulls decide to play it safe again, coach Tom Thibodeau said there is potential for Rose to return for a playoff run, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times:

I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, just going step-by-step. When he handles the next phase, then they’ll move him on to the next one. Just make sure he’s ­completely healthy, that’s all we’re thinking about.

With those hopes now hanging in the balance, the Bulls are in an interesting position. They are a playoff team while also looking at the possibility of freeing up space to sign a max player in the offseason like Carmelo Anthony, who reportedly has Chicago high on his list, per Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski.

While the talks of Anthony and a Rose return hang in the balance, there are still several trades the Bulls could possibly make before the trade deadline officially ends on Feb. 20.

Here are the most recent trade headlines as they become available.

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