I'm not someone in the dump Boozer camp, but Blogabull poster bryield brought up Carlos Boozer's friendship with Dwight Howard recently. There's been a fair bit written about that friendship in the past perhaps most credibly by the Orlando Magic's version of Sam Smith, John Denton. While Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh were bonding during the 2008 Olympics so too were Dwight Howard and Carlos Boozer apparently.
I have never thought much about it in the past, but this time I was slightly intrigued. Orlando may be desperate enough to actually deal with a rival team this time around. If Orlando is feeling similarly to how Cleveland felt before dealing for Antwan Jamison then there may be a somewhat intriguing option. And Orlando certainly has shown a willingness to reshuffle the deck in hopes of getting lucky. Nothing is going to be a slam dunk type move, but there may be some lateral trades available that potentially offer a slightly better roster fit than keeping Boozer.
(I also believe there is an almost zero chance that Dwight Howard ends up in Chicago even if his buddy Carlos Boozer is in Chicago. None of the conditions for making that kind of trade happen really exist. It doesn't matter if the Bulls can make the best offer in that situation. Orlando making a lateral type of trade to try and appease their superstar is completely different from actually trading their superstar.)
From the Magic
I'm assuming Hedo Turkoglu would be part of any deal. The Bulls won't touch Gilbert Arenas so that leaves Turkoglu as their other big contract. And Turkoglu is at least somewhat intriguing for the Bulls. He's another ball handler which the Bulls desperately need, and I'm a particular fan of being able to initiate offense from the forward position. Potentially the Bulls could have Turkoglu backing up Deng and helping to run the second unit. And they could play Turkoglu and Deng together at the forward positions, particuarly to close games. Not only would that get a second ball handler on the floor in addition to Rose, but it would allow the Bulls to space the floor with four three point shooters or still keep three shooters on the floor while playing Brewer at SG. That's at least two things that don't exist on the current roster.
Turkoglu's obviously not as good a player as Boozer in the abstract. Certainly the box score metrics favor Boozer by a wide margin. And there's an argument to be made that Turkoglu is already too old and washed up, and never that good to begin with. He certainly can look absolutely awful on the court. On the other hand Turkoglu has traditionally been a guy that has looked fairly good in the on court/off court statistics like adjusted plus/minus. Offenses traditionally play significantly better with Turkoglu on the court despite his own relatively mediocre offensive stats. And while he's not a defensive asset, he's generally not seen as a terrible defensive liability as long as he is somewhat protected by the players around him. He's a guy that relies on length, rather than speed so there's at least a small chance he doesn't fall apart.
So Turkoglu at least has a decent chance of being a useful player for the Bulls, but the key of course would be what else the Bulls could get in a package with him. Even if the Magic decided to acquire Boozer I doubt they would offer that much since they are the one's taking on long term money. And they know that acquiring Howard's buddy won't help them if they give away too much talent and lose games. The obvious player to include would probably be J.J. Redick who the Bulls attempted to sign last summer. I don't really see Orlando being willing to include much more than that, but they can probably justifying letting Redick go since the only way the Magic really get better is if Arenas starts playing better. But the Bulls could also consider getting someone like Jameer Nelson or Brandon Bass out of Orlando in addition or instead of Redick. There's a few possibilites depending on Orlando's mood.
J.J. Redick shot horribly to begin the season and end the season, but in between he was good enough when he wasn't injured to prove that his previous season was not a fluke . He's a bit over paid at this point thanks to the Bulls, but he's still the player the Bulls wanted last summer. The upside for the Bulls is that Redick can dribble well enough to at least run some pick and roll or drive by guys closing out on him too hard often getting guys to foul him in the process. On the flip side he needs to use a lot of energy to be a successful player and will still be a defensive liability at times even when playing hard so he's always probably going to be a 25 min/g or less player. Swapping Bogans for Redick in the rotation should be a decent upgrade if that is all that happens, but it would also free up some trade options for the Bulls.
Bulls' Post Depth
Doing something like this only makes sense if you are a true believer in Omer Asik and Taj Gibson. This move would not only free up playing time for them, but also potentially money to keep them both if it becomes an issue. The Bulls could slide Gibson back into the starting lineup and get back to playing around 30 minutes per game. It also opens up some playing time for Asik by allowing the Bulls to put him on the court with Noah at times to form a giant front court. The Bulls wouldn't be able to use that combination every game, but against certain teams like the Mavericks or Lakers they could probably go to it for fairly long stretches. Provided the Bulls can continue to find veterans like Kurt Thomas for injury insurance they can probably afford to sacrifice post depth.
And it only makes sense if you believe in Joakim Noah as an offensive player. If the Bulls go in this direction Noah can't be limited to an offensive rebounder come playoff time. He has to be able to score on even good teams. The Noah from the beginning of last season has to be able to show up consistently. I personally trust Noah to do that and I think it could be helpful to put Noah in a situation where he has to be more aggressive offensively. Noah's never going to be a great scorer, but he can create with the ball in his hands whether it is taking a bigger player off the dribble or posting up a smaller player, and he gets to the free throw line fairly regularly in the process. Not a huge scorer, but I do believe he can be the pre-thumb
Carlos Boozer does bring some unique qualities to the Bulls. He's a defensive liability in terms of rotations, but he is a monster on the defensive glass. We can debate how much offense Boozer actually creates himself, but he was still a guy that could consistently generate a 26% usage rate with solid efficiency. There's a very short list of post players that can do that, and it allowed the Bulls to be successful even with two guys with a 10% usage rate in the starting lineup in Bogans and Thomas That said Boozer's defensive liabilities are as obvious as the Bulls post depth so a trade is at least worth considering.
As I said I haven't been in the trade Boozer camp, but I would at least consider this. I really doubt Boozer helps Orlando at all and may even make them worse. Orlando already completes dominates the defensive glass with just Howard so Boozer doesn't add much there and it is hard to see Boozer excelling offensively with Howard occupying the paint, although Howard may just be great enough on his own to properly cover for Boozer on defense. I don't worry about making Orlando better, although it would be understandable if they took the chance. Perhaps if they have Boozer Orlando could package Brandon Bass who will be up for a new contract soon along with someone like Jameer Nelson in another trade.
The Bulls on the other hand have a solid chance of being worse as well if they deal something like Boozer and non-guaranteed deals to Orlando for Turkoglu and Redick, but they do gain some trade flexibility even if Turkoglu and/or Redick disappoint. And I think there is a small chance of the Bulls being better directly from the trade. Redick is a piece tot he puzzle that can be kept as an upgrade or eventually moved in another deal. There is a decent chance Turkoglu stinks up the joint, but I think Chicago is a pretty good situation for him as a disciplined team with a need for him to handle the ball and another Turkish teammate in Asik. And historically the Bulls have been very good when able to go small with Deng at PF. Deng shouldn't take the pounding from playing a huge minutes at PF, but there are times almost every game where sliding Deng to PF makes sense. And Turkoglu could give the Bulls a few more options in terms of who could fit both as a shooting guard and a backup point guard.
Ultimately I actually feel like I would do this deal even though I have argued for the Bulls to keep Boozer. That's somewhat surprising to me Turkoglu is a huge risk to fail given his history and his age, but I do like his versatility and what it potentially allows the Bulls to do particularly at the end of games. Redick would at least give the offense roughly what Korver did, but with the ability to put the ball on the floor some. And I have some confidence that Noah and Gibson do have a bit more to give offensively and can play with more consistency on that end. That said Boozer would indeed be a loss because of his ability to create offense to a degree Noah and Gibson simply can't match.
It's another deal like so many that would probably turn out bad for both sides, Even if it works it probably doesn't make the Bulls better just more versatile, but I think I would take the chance on the increased versatility given that there are no truly long term contracts coming back to Chicago. If it goes bad as it probably will the Bulls still shouldn't be stuck Like my previous Hinrich trade proposal this certainly isn't sexy and may even be a bit disgusting, but I only like making proposals that other teams have a compelling reason to do. I have no interest in penciling Dwight Howard into a fantasy starting lineup or detailing how the Bulls get Kevin Martin in exchange for bench players. Like with the Hinrich trade I'm interested in a realistic move that leaves the Bulls with that increased versatility. I don't want to see the Bulls caught in a playoff series with a bad matchup where they lack the versatility to adjust not only their rotation, but also adjust their offensive and defensive schemes on a possession by possession basis. I'll sacrifice some overall talent in exchange for not getting stuck.