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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

 

Dwyane Wade could flee to the Bulls, according to report – SBNation.com

The Chicago Bulls are interested in free agent shooting guard Dwyane Wade if the Chicago native decides to leave the Miami Heat, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.LeBron James’ decision to depart from South Beach and return home to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers is rippling through free agency.

LEBRON GOES HOME

Wade reportedly ‘understands’ James’ decision

The “Big Three” era in Miami has ended, and Wade remains as the lone member with an uncertain future after he opted out of a significant amount of money to allow the Heat more financial flexibility to create a revamped roster for the trio. Chris Bosh will likely sign with the Houston Rockets on a maximum contract after James’ announcement.

The Bulls are still waiting for Carmelo Anthony to make a decision on his future and could start exploring their alternative options. Wade was expected to take a significant pay cut to remain with the Heat, but it’s unclear if he will consider his own options without Bosh and James returning.

Wade met with the Bulls during free agency in 2010 but re-signed with Miami. James and Bosh are both preparing for returns to their home states, and Wade may have the option of doing the same for himself.

The Pitch – Chicago Bulls

CHICAGO — Joakim Noah had better get used to seeing Cleveland a lot more in the spring again.

The Bulls always knew they were going to have to get past LeBron James in order to win a championship. Now they’ll just have to do it by going through Cleveland the next few years.

[+] EnlargeLeBron James and Joakim Noah

Rob Grabowski/USA TODAY SportsJoakim Noah will have to deal with LeBron James a lot more now that he is returning to the Cavaliers.

With James’ decision to return to the Cavaliers, the Bulls must hope against hope that Carmelo Anthony will turn down almost $60 million in guaranteed money from the New York Knicks, or find some way to work out a sign-and-trade. The Bulls got encouraging news in the aftermath of James’ announcement, when sources toldESPN’s Stephen A. Smith that Anthony had eliminated the Lakers and is deciding between the Bulls and Knicks.

If the Bulls don’t land Anthony, they are looking at the very real possibility of heading into next season as the third-best team in their own division. James’ choice makes the Cavaliers the new favorite in the Central. TheIndiana Pacers, despite all their dysfunction at the end of the season, still have Paul George and a core that has been to the Eastern Conference finals the past couple of seasons.

If Lance Stephenson decides to sign elsewhere, that will change the dynamic within the division, but it won’t change the fact that James’ presence in Cleveland remains the biggest roadblock facing the Bulls.

James’ decision has other ramifications on the Bulls — namely, the backup plan of trying to acquire Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Sources told ESPN.com’s Marc Steinthat Love is “intrigued” by the possibility of playing with James, and would be open to signing a long-term deal with the Cavs.

If the Bulls don’t land Anthony, the next best option is to continue calling Timberwolves president and coach Flip Saunders to see if they could work a deal to bring Love to Chicago.

The Bulls’ offer figured to include Jimmy ButlerTaj Gibson and/or Nikola Mirotic along with a future draft pick or two. If the Cavaliers offer Andrew Wiggins, the first overall pick in last month’s draft, along with a few other assets, will that be too good of a deal for the Timberwolves to pass up? Gibson and Butler are great defenders and solid players, but they don’t have the potential star power of Wiggins.

No matter what happens in the coming days in free agency, the Bulls know that James remains in their path more than ever. Like it did in Miami during his first season there, it’s going to take him some time to learn the intricacies of playing with new teammates likeKyrie Irving and company, but James is the type of player who makes everyone around him better.

The Bulls have the same kind of talent in Derrick Rose — a player who opens up space for everyone else on the floor — but Rose has played in only 49 games in the past three seasons because of various injuries. James’ move doesn’t change much in that regard. Rose must continue to work on his game and hope his body can withstand the grind of a long NBA season. Until he can prove that he is healthy — and playing at the same level — it’s foolish to believe the Bulls are a serious contender to win a championship. Even if Anthony signs in Chicago, the Bulls still need an elite-level Rose to be a serious title contender.

The key for the Bulls becomes simple now. They must hope that Anthony signs with them, which would give them the superstar scorer they’ve been missing throughout the Tom Thibodeau era.

Anthony’s presence would take a lot of pressure off Rose and the rest of the team, and it would be an antidote for the intense defense James has played against Rose in the past. The Bulls have to hope that Anthony remembers what their pitch was — that Chicago offers him the best chance to win right away.

The Knicks can offer the most money, but they are still selling hope. Anthony must buy into the notion that the Knicks’ new kingpin, Phil Jackson, can turn around the roster in summer 2015, when he’ll be working with a lot more cap space.

The Bulls have to hold onto the belief that Anthony knows that the best way to get through Cleveland and to a championship is to join forces with Rose and Noah. The reality for all parties is that they are much better equipped to do that together, not apart.

Melo Needs to make his Mind…

Carmelo Anthony has narrowed his options down to the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls. He is no longer considering the Los Angeles Lakers, sources told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

 

 

Knicks president Phil Jackson said Thursday that he hadn’t heard from Anthony in recent days but remained confident the All-Star forward would re-sign with the Knicks. Jackson said the Knicks have made five different contract offers to Anthony, one of which is believed to be a maximum deal of $129 million over five years.

As of Friday afternoon, the Lakers had yet to be informed they were out of the running for Anthony, a league source told ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Dave McMenamin.

Anthony’s agent, Leon Rose, told ESPN.com on Wednesday afternoon that his client “hasn’t made a decision yet.”

NBA Free Agent race for a better year

The 2014 free-agency period hasn’t had the fireworks or instant gratification of past years, as it seems like every major player and team is waiting to see whatLeBron James will do and the domino effect that will have on the market.

In some ways, James will set the market for everyone else because his choice can change the landscape of the league. While we know that James is absolutely worth the max and that his price won’t change unless he decides to take less, the future of multiple teams and marquee players can be impacted by his decision.

Even with that being the case, we can reasonably predict the price range and set the market for the remaining 2014 free agents based on what we’ve seen so far. Jodie Meeks signing with the Detroit Pistons for more than the mid-level exception certainly set a market for shooters, and Kyle Lowry’s deal worth $12 million a season established the price range for near-max unrestricted free agents. 

Using the salaries of players already signed and existing contracts throughout the league, let’s set the market for the best remaining 2014 free agents according to category of player. 

It’s important to remember that all max contracts are not created equal, as players who have been in the league longer and are coming off old deals under the last collective bargaining agreement can make substantially more than players coming off their rookie deals.

Basically, someone like Greg Monroe can get the “max” and Carmelo Anthony can get the “max,” and their annual salaries can still be around $6 million apart. 

For this offseason, there are only three unrestricted veteran free agents who should receive a max offer: LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh.

Realistically, Dirk Nowitzki could have joined that group, but he instead decided to take much less money to help Dallas retain cap space to bring talent around him. Nowitzki’s three-year deal worth $30 million is one of the best bargains we’ve seen in a while.

According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, James wants a max salary this offseason:

LeBron James will have a completely different process and a different priority when he opens his free agency at 12:01 a.m. ET Tuesday than he did in 2010, sources told ESPN.com.

Teams that contact James will be informed that he wants no less than the maximum salary number for next season, sources said. The max number for James is projected to be about $20.7 million.

Both Bosh and Anthony should land max deals either with their current teams or elsewhere. If James returns to Miami, Bosh will likely have to take less than his full max, unless Dwyane Wade takes a massive pay cut to to compensate for both deals. 

Anthony could potentially take a little less, but if no one is joining him immediately in New York or he’s not leaving money on the table for another free-agent acquisition elsewhere, there’s probably little incentive for him to do so. It is important to note his stated priorities, however.

“My concern is to be able to compete on a high level, a championship level, coming in this last stretch of my career,” Anthony said on SportsCenter in February, via ESPN New York. “I want to compete at that level.”

LeBron and Melo are the best bets to receive the most money possible, while Bosh’s deal will almost certainly depend on what LeBron does.

Here’s where the big surprises in free agency will likely come from.

Pegging how much restricted free agents can land is often difficult, as sometimes they don’t get offer sheets from other teams and instead negotiate with the team that holds their rights exclusively.

That’s what happened with Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley, who, according to Baxter Holmes of TheBoston Globe, signed a four-year deal worth $32 million.

Bradley came with an expensive price tag, but that’s nothing compared to what some of the big restricted free agents should make.

Greg Monroe is still a candidate for a max offer, as David Aldridge at NBA.com explained earlier this year: “The problem, as the Pistons knew last fall, is that Monroe’s agent is David Falk. He has gotten the price he said he’d get for his clients for two decades—and he says the price for Monroe will be a max contract.”

With no other viable franchise big man on the market other than Bosh, Monroe should get the max once a few other pieces fall in place.

He won’t be the only restricted free agent to get that, though.

Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe should receive a max offer sheet somewhere, as Phoenix isn’t likely to negotiate with him unnecessarily while there are still players like James and Anthony out there who could potentially sign with cap space.

Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward didn’t seem quite as likely to receive the full max, but Rick Bonnell of theCharlotte Observer reported on July 8 that he got just such an offer from the Charlotte Hornets. Now, it’ll be up to the Jazz to make a decision on whether to match.

Bledsoe and Monroe should both get max deals, and there’s a chance Hayward does as well. No other restricted free agent has a good shot, though I wouldn’t be shocked if Parsons received one.   

Report: Bulls’ Derrick Rose prefers Kevin Love to Carmelo Anthony

It seems more and more likely that the Bulls will be heavily in the mix to add a superstar talent via trade or free agency this summer.

Carmelo Anthony may be highest on their list, given that Chicago can sign him outright once he opts out of the final year of his Knicks contract to become an unrestricted free agent. But Kevin Love is probably not too far behind, even though the Bulls would need to acquire him via trade, which could prove tricky if they want to keep the key pieces already in place.

Derrick Rose is expected to be 100 percent to start next season, and his presence is one of many factors which make the Bulls such a desirable destination. And he reportedly has a preference in which superstar he’d like to see added to his team’s roster.

From Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News:

According to sources close to Kevin Love, Rose’s preference is for the Bulls to work out a deal as soon as possible for Minnesota’s All-Star forward because he sees Love as more of a team player than Anthony. Chicago is in the mix with Golden State for Love, with Boston and Denver considered long shots. If it makes any difference to Melo, Rose has no plans to recruit Love, who is free next summer, either. But the Bulls already know whom he’d really prefer to play with in the future.

Every player in the league would have a preference if asked who they’d like to play alongside with. It doesn’t mean, however, that they wouldn’t welcome the opportunity to play with a whole host of talented, proven stars.

The Bulls won’t be consulting Rose on any of their roster moves this summer, and will do what makes the most sense to set the team up for long-term success. If that means clearing the cap space necessary to sign Anthony outright — leaving the team’s core intact so it could immediately contend for a title — something tells me that Rose wouldn’t have an issue with that decision.

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)

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