Don't rejoice just yet, but you can start drafting those "Farewell Carlos Boozer" party plans. That's because the Bulls do plan on using the amnesty provision on Boozer if he's not traded, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.
ESPN's Brian Windhorst didn't completely confirm the report, instead saying the Bulls have told Boozer he could be amnestied.
There was some belief that Jerry Reinsdorf wouldn't be willing to foot what would be most of the bill on Boozer's $16.8 million contract for next season. However, Cowley says Reinsdorf is willing to pay Boozer to go away, because the Bulls don't think they can win anything with the much-maligned power forward on the roster. Which is a point I've hammered home.
Obviously, the Bulls would rather trade Boozer than just pay him to go away, but they've had no such luck in finding a trade partner. The preferable route is to include Boozer in a deal for a signed-and-traded Carmelo Anthony, but all indications are the Knicks have little interest in doing that. ESPN's Chris Broussard reiterated that point Wednesday morning, and Cowley said the Bulls have been "rebuffed" several times on that front.
The Knicks could be just posturing, and they might be willing to take on Boozer if Anthony goes to them and says he's leaving. However, I still think it would take at least one somewhat significant asset for them to do that, whether it be Nikola Mirotic or Jimmy Butler. The Knicks could also try and make the Bulls take back a bad contract.
The Knicks wouldn't have much leverage if Anthony says he wants out, but there's some reason to believe he's not really going to force his way out of New York to go to Chicago. This is especially the case if the Bulls don't pose enough of a threat to sign him outright. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune said the Bulls didn't discuss financials much with Anthony, but Cowley and Broussard both hinted that the initial plan was to get the Knicks star to take about $15 million in his first season in order to keep Taj Gibson around. [Note by JayPatt, 07/03/14 6:02 AM CDT The New York Post's Marc Berman also reports an offer of about $16 million per season over four years. These aren't three of my, let's say, most favorite reporters, but it's probably something when all three are saying basically the same thing.]
Cowley can yammer on all he wants about Anthony being a "man of his word" and accepting that huge pay cut, but I just can't see that offer being accepted. And I wouldn't disparage Anthony one bit, although I'm sure Cowley would be ready with some column calling Anthony a selfish loser.
Luckily, the Bulls can sell off a few more minor parts that aren't Gibson and still get to a more respectable starting salary of about $17 million. That at least is in the ballpark and could help initiate possible sign-and-trade discussions with New York.
But back to the main point of this story. Carlos Boozer almost certainly won't be a Bull next season, and that's all that matters, yo.