I started out writing this post as an open-ended "what do we do about Boozer" post, but I think in doing so I've reached my conclusion. It seems to me the Bulls biggest "problem" (besides the injuries, obviously) heading into next year is the cost vs. performance disparity that is Carlos Boozer. But for him, it seems to me that we wouldn't be having all of these discussions about Asik, Rip vs. Brewer, etc. So rather than try to do other things to work around the problem, let's just see if we can find a way to be rid of him, or come to terms with keeping him. Our options as I see them:
1. Keep him. For as terrible as he was in the playoffs, and for all the truth there is to the fact that he's not as good as his stats (19.7 PER this year) suggest, he can still be pretty damn good while being not as good as a 19.7 PER rating. Furthermore, we have to consider a few things here, first and foremost being that the Bulls, who were already offensively deficient to start with, are going to be without Derrick Rose for most of next season.
While Boozer is not what I'd call a dominant scorer, he is what I'd call a bread and butter scorer. He will reliably generate points, and this team is gonna be starving for them next year.
Relatedly, even if we want to trade him, doing so now, with three years left on his deal and coming off a terrible playoff performance doesn't seem ideal. But without Rose and perhaps Deng to start the season, Boozer's gonna get more shot attempts and will soak them up, and should probably get back up to those magical 20 and 10 numbers that make GM's moist. That is, he'll become more valuable. Right now, we're selling low. Around the trade deadline or later, we'll be selling high(er).
2. Amnesty him. I just don't see this happening, despite the case Basketball Smurf made for it. My guess is we'd still have to pay, at best, half his salary, which would be something like $20-25M. Just to go away. While the Bulls have bought out some players in the past, the reality here is that Boozer is a relatively productive player, and his strong suits are especially ones that we'll be in need of next year. I could somewhat see it happening if we could get really far under the cap and had a really obvious target to go after, but I'm not sure I see that. Eric Gordon scares me with his injuredness. Brook Lopez is an RFA, so it'd probably require working out a sign and trade in any case (this is something I would pursue, by the way, I think with him, Noah could be very effective as the PF, and we'd be in great shape). But still, I count this as very unlikely, and i don't see how we can wipe the boards for such a low possibility chance. Too risky.
To put it another way, if the Bulls wanted to spend another $25M without getting that far under the cap (the likely outcome) then they'd be better off just exceeding the tax for one season, re-signing Asik, and looking to make a move down the road when Boozer and potentially Deng's value has come up.
3. Trade him. Size is always in demand even if Boozer isn't highly sought after this year's FA PF class isn't all that impressive either. The problem is, we might like what we get back even less. The Celtics (if KG retires or leaves), Nets, Bobcats, Pistons, Hornets, Bucks, Magic, Wiz, Nuggets and Suns don't have all that great options at PFs. My guess is Boozer would be a legitimate upgrade for any of them. I'd certainly pursue these options if it gave us 1) cap savings and shorter contracts or 2) two serviceable players on friendlier deals. Anyway, here are some thoughts on favorable deals I can think of:
The Nets: Lots of gab is this is a team that wants to make a splash as they head into Brooklyn. If they can add a SG and PF to Brook Lopez, DWill, Gerald Wallace and their lottery pick, they're probably a playoff team. They've got cap room to burn as well. Boozer would legitimately help them and (bonus!) they could use Rip as well.
The Bobcats: If we ant a pure salary dump, they have expirings and cap space. They're disrespectfully bad, and a solid cog who can score can help them. Combining him with Maggette, Henderson, a lottery pick and Kemba Walker would at least turn them from terrible to below average. Bonus, he's a Dukie.
The Hornets: They went through this last season with Carl Landry, who's kind of a poor man's Boozer. They've got new ownership and would presumably not like to suck anymore. They've also got two centers who demonstrated they can't play very well together last year in Chris Kaman and Emeka Okafor. I'd be wary of Okafor, but I tend to think Kaman and Noah could somewhat mesh together. Maybe a sign and trade, or if they just let Kaman walk, they'd be interested in some sort of deal.