Utah Jazz forward Carlos Boozer appeared on WMVP’s “Waddle and Silvy Show” Tuesday morning and pretty much said what Bulls fans – if they are pro-Boozer – would want to hear:
--He believes he’ll be traded relatively soon.
--He’d love to play for the Bulls.
--He’s open to signing a contract extension and skipping free agency next year.
--He’s tight with Miami’s Dwyane Wade. The Bulls’ ultimate goal appears to be trading for Boozer this summer, while also clearing enough cap room to encourage Wade to come home next summer as a free agent.
As a refresher, Boozer has averaged at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in two of the last three seasons. Anyway, here’s the interview:
Q: Do you think you will be traded?
A: Yeah I do. I had a talk with the Jazz. The Jazz told me they want to go in a different direction and I respect their decision. We mutually agreed to work out a trade that was beneficial for them and beneficial for my family and me. So with that being said I’m gonna be traded relatively soon or in good time.
Q: Will you be traded to the Chicago Bulls?
A: I definitely heard a little rumbling about it. Whether it will go down or not, that’s kind of between the Jazz and Chicago. But obviously if I did get traded to Chicago, I’d love to be a part of the Bulls.
Q: What is feeling about the Chicago Bulls organization?
A: Great organization, top notch from top to bottom. They do things very professionally there. At the same time, they have a good group of talent there. Obviously with Derrick Rose at the helm and being rookie of the year last year and having some very good talent around him. Very good team. If I was able to come there, I’d bring a lot, especially in the low post and being a leader as well. We’ll see what happens.
Q: Are you set on free agency (in 2010)?
A: I’d definitely be open to signing an extension and be locked into a team. Obviously, one that wanted me to be there in the future and one I thought would have a chance to succeed. That would be something me and my agent would explore right away.
Q: Do you see similar aspects of Derrick Rose and (Utah’s Deron) Williams?
A: They’re both big body point guards. They have incredible speed and quickness. Derrick Rose is probably one of the most athletic guards I’ve seen in a very long time. Especially at the point guard position, probably the most athletic point guard I’ve seen. He grew up a lot during the course of the season, had a monster playoff series, a memorable one with Boston.
Bright future, very talented, very humble. I love his demeanor, he never seems shaken, never seems too excited, he always has the same Tim Duncan look; you never know if you’re up by 20 or down by 20. Very explosive player, and I see a lot of similarities between him and Deron. Very good passer, very good explosive player, and he’s fun to watch.
Q: Could you influence Dwayne Wade to come to Chicago?
A: Well, me and D-Wade are very close. We talk quite a bit, but that’s a decision he has to make with himself and obviously if I did come to the Bulls … I’d love to have D-Wade play for us. At the same time, D-Wade is like me and wants to win a championship bad. If I was able to go to the Bulls and get D-Wade to come, we’d be right there at the top of the list.
Q: Can you stay healthy?
A: Absolutely. I’ve had a couple of spells, injuries that I can’t control, but my body feels 100 percent. I’m healthy and doing really well. I’m looking forward to next season so much to prove to everybody that I can play through the whole season and at the same time to dominate again, so I’m looking forward to it.
Q: Are the Bulls your No. 1 destination?
A: We’ll see what happens. I mean, I’d love to be a part of the Chicago Bulls. A lot of that lays in the Utah Jazz’ hands, but we’ll see what they want to do. If it happens I’ll be very happy.”
TIM THOMAS BOUGHT OUT, WAIVED
The Bulls announced Tuesday morning that they agreed to a contract settlement with Tim Thomas and released the veteran forward.
This came as a bit of a surprise, since Thomas' $6.4-million expiring contract could be useful in a trade and he might have seen some court time if still on the roster when the season began.
My guess is Thomas preferred the freedom to join a team of his choosing instead of being a trade chip that could end up anywhere. So he gave the Bulls a break with his salary, which will help them open more room below the luxury tax threshold.
I'm hearing the buyout was more than the $1.3 million veteran minimum, so it is likely closer to $2 million.
The Bulls still have a $6.6 million expiring contract available with Jerome James. Brad Miller has one year left at $12.25 million, but the Bulls expect him to play next season and maybe even stick around at a much lower price after 2010.
Veteran guard Lindsey Hunter will officially re-sign with the Bulls soon. It was reported here in May that the Bulls were hoping to bring back the 38-year-old because of the leadership and guidance he added to the locker room.
Adding Hunter and Jannero Pargo brings the Bulls' payroll right to the luxury tax threshold of $69.92 million. So the Thomas buyout gives the Bulls room to maybe re-sign center Aaron Gray, add another player or take back some salary in a trade for Boozer.
Dropping Thomas and adding Hunter gives the Bulls 12 players under contract, with a qualifying offer worth around $1 million pending for Gray.
BEN WALLACE ALSO TAKES BUYOUT
In other news relevant to the Bulls, Ben Wallace accepted a buyout from the Phoenix Suns. This was supposed to be the last Wallace's four seasons in Chicago when he signed a $60-million free-agent deal with the Bulls. But Wallace clearly didn't have enough left in his legs to continue the effort he displayed in Detroit.
The Arizona Republic reported Wallace accepted a $10 million buyout on the $14 million he was owed this season. It seems likely Big Ben will retire, although he could pull a P.J. Brown and wait until March to join a team with a chance to win the title.