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Gar Forman expects Carlos Boozer to return next season

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The Bulls GM, and co-executive of the year, was interviewed earlier this week and had this to say about his free agent prize of last summer (outside of Keith Bogans):

I thought Carlos had a very good year for us. When you look at the numbers during the season, he was 18 points, 10 rebounds, shot over 50 percent from the field. I thought he was a big part of the success we had winning 62 games and finishing with the best record in the league.

Obviously he got slowed a little with the sprained ankle at the end of the season and lost some conditioning, and then the toe injury ... when you have ligament damage in your toe, it's going to affect you. It affects how you move and some of the pop that you have. I expect Carlos to come back healthy and ready to go. If you look at signings over the years, when there's big free agent signings, a lot of times the first year is a touch down and then guys come back the next year with a stronger year. That's been the trend, at least looking at it statistically. We were happy with the year Carlos gave us. He was a big part of what we did. And we would expect he's going to come back next year and help us to get better.

This isn't exactly major news. Even if the Bulls were considering moving Boozer, Forman wouldn't publicly admit anywhere near as such. Though I'm interested if his talk about the expected 'touch down' in the first year of big free agent signings is actually as statistically backed as he claims (the possibly partner idea of a 'contract year bump' isn't, I don't think).

I'm a bit torn on Boozer going forward. He was fairly abominable the entire postseason and deserved the blame he received, but he was also hurt. What certainly hurt his case in the validity of that excuse-making was that the timing of the turf toe injury was far after he was noticeably struggling. But as Foreman mentioned, there was also the sprained ankle several weeks before that. And of course he missed all those games to start the season with the broken wrist, costing valuable time learning to play alongside Joakim Noah...'s clear to see the trend, and it's been that way for his whole career: he gets hurt a lot.

There were reasons Boozer was a consolation prize last offseason, and that extends even beyond health. But at this point it's hard to see a clear advantage of trying to move him now, at his possibly lowest value. There are few worse contracts in the league and the Bulls would either be taking a worse one back, or be forced to use assets to make other teams have the privilege of paying him the next 4 seasons. And Boozer's certainly not a disruptive presence to where he'd need to go.

I suppose the cournter argument is that it's all downhill from here, and this may actually Boozer's highest value. But when he's right, he helps, and I don't buy Taj Gibson or Omer Asik as permanent in-house replacements to play alongside Noah.

So I, too, expect Boozer to return next year, and welcome it. Though mostly because there isn't much of a choice.