Boozer living up to New Year's resolutions in 2013

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Boozer living up to New Year's resolutions in 2013

Maybe 2013 is Carlos Boozers year.
In the Bulls last three games, all wins, the much-maligned power forward has had outings of 31 points and 11 rebounds, 27 points and 12 rebounds, and 24 points and 11 rebounds. In fact, Boozer has notched double-doubles in his last five contests.
As perhaps the most-criticized player on the Bulls, Boozer is often the target of fans scorn. After signing a five-year, approximately 80-million contract in the summer of 2010, observers expected him to be a dominant, 20-and-10 force on a nightly basis and while that hasnt happened, its easy to overlook the fact that although hes not putting up the same numbers as when he was a two-time Western Conference All-Star in Utah, hes still one of the best players at his position in the league.
Its not like he hasnt done this before. Hes done this throughout his career. Hes played very well for us and I dont think hes gotten the credit that he deserves, but you look at him and at the end of every season, how he measures up to other power forwards, hes always at the top, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau explained. Hes gotten more opportunities right now because people are searching him out and thats what the defense is telling us is open. I think guys have gotten comfortable, the core guys who have been together now for three years, so they know how to play off of each other better and I think Carlos has done a great job for us. Hes unselfish, too. When the second defender comes, hes going to make the right play.
When Boozers statistics are taken in contexthe plays roughly 30 minutes per game; he has a high-level backup in Taj Gibsonthe case can be made that hes delivered up to expectations. And with Bulls center Joakim Noah in the midst of a career season, it can no longer be said that the low-post duo doesnt function well together, an assertion their coach always found humorous.
Ive been laughing all along because Ive been looking at the winning percentage when the two of them have played together. To me, thats how you measure guys. Sometimes I think people get so hung up on individual statistics that they dont look at what the end result is and the end result has been very, very positive from Day 1 and so, that hasnt changed. My thinking on those two hasnt changed one bit, Thibodeau said. Boozer has been a lightning rod from Day 1. But he can handle it. When youre that type of player, usually thats what comes with it. But he handles that part great. No matter what happens the night before, he comes in that next day, hes ready to work and thats all you can ask. Come in, put everything you have into it, get ready for the next game, and keep learning and improving.
Noah added: Its always great to silence your critics, but obviously theres a bigger picture. Its not about just silencing critics who said we couldnt play together. Obviously he wants to win, I want to win. Being in this league, you usually answer those questions at the end of the year. Its not because we played well against Cleveland, because we won a game against Miami during the regular season that were going to silence those critics. Its more about whats going to happen at the end of the year.
I think hes playing his best basketball. He looks very comfortable out there. We kind of understand where he wants the ball, he continued. I think that were playing very unselfish basketball right now. Whoevers open getting the ball. I think thats signs of good things for this team. Ball movement, when somebodys open, get them the ball and Booz is just killing in the paint right now, so were just getting him as many touches as possible.
For the time being, it appears that Boozer is making good on his New Years resolutions to be more efficient and get more wins. If he continues to play the game the way he has as of late, the occasional boos he hears from the United Center crowd will permanently turn to Booz.

Why the 2016 free agency period could be a quiet one for Bulls

Why the 2016 free agency period could be a quiet one for Bulls

With the start of NBA free agency coming at 11:01 Central time on Thursday, prepare to be bombarded with news about meetings and potential signings.

But when the dust clears sometime in mid-July, don't be surprised if the only free agent transaction involving the Bulls is the re-signing of veteran guard E'Twaun Moore.

The reason for this is two-fold. First, the Bulls really like Moore. General manager Gar Forman praised the former Purdue star during the news conference to introduce top draft pick Denzel Valentine, and head coach Fred Hoiberg is also a big fan of Moore's versatility and toughness. Second, with just about every team in the league having significant cap room, the bidding war for second- and third-tier players could get out of the Bulls’ comfort zone and they might choose to keep their powder dry for a much deeper free agent class next year.

If the Bulls are able to re-sign Moore at a starting salary of somewhere between $8-10 million, don't be surprised if he begins the season as the starting point guard. Moore would definitely be the best defensive option at the position, and his size would allow the Bulls to switch on ball screens, with both guards (Moore and Jimmy Butler) able to defend taller players.

The Bulls do like the potential of former Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant, but at this point in his development a reserve role is probably best for the second year pro. Grant also has the ability to play off the ball at 6-foot-4, giving the Bulls another big guard with Butler and Valentine when Hoiberg wants to go to a small-ball line-up.

So, which external players might the Bulls be targeting in free agency? Remember, if they re-sign Moore at a starting salary of 8 million, that leaves them only about $16 million left to spend in what could turn out to be a crazy marketplace.

The Bulls could be looking to upgrade the small forward position, where Mike Dunleavy and Doug McDermott are the likely starting options. Kent Bazemore is an intriguing possibility, coming off his best season in Atlanta where he11.6 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 44 percent from the field. He’s also a tenacious defender with plenty of potential for growth at 27 years old.

But with every team looking to spend big dollars this summer, Bazemore's contract could approach the $20 million mark in Year 1, which might be too rich for the Bulls' taste.

Forman talked about a process of trying to make the roster younger and more athletic, which means the Bulls are unlikely to pursue free agents over the age of 30, unless they come on one year deals.

Several restricted free agent wings could be on the Bulls' radar, including Golden State's Harrison Barnes, who reportedly was seen visiting Chicago on Tuesday. Under normal circumstances, the Warriors would automatically match any offer for their talented young forward, but if Kevin Durant indicates he wants to team up with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, the front office would willingly sacrifice Barnes and fellow restricted free agent Festus Ezeli, and trade away a veteran contract like Andrew Bogut or Andre Iguodala to create the cap room to make it happen.

You've probably heard about Barnes' connection with the Bulls. He was a high school teammate of Doug McDermott on a state championship team in Ames, Iowa. That's the same high school where Hoiberg starred, eventually picking up the nickname of the "Mayor" after an outstanding college career at Iowa State.

So, even though the Bulls are in the "re-tooling" process, Barnes has to sign an offer sheet somewhere to start the restricted free agent time clock. Why not Chicago?

As a Tier 1 free agent, a max offer to Barnes would start at $22.2 million, meaning the Bulls would have to move another contract (most likely Taj Gibson or Mike Dunleavy), or use the "stretch" provision to release Jose Calderon from the final year on his deal, which would save them about $5 million on next year's cap.

Golden State will have three days to match the offer sheet Barnes signs, which they will most certainly do if Durant stays in Oklahoma City or signs with a different team. But with none of the other contending teams expected to make a play for Barnes, it might be worth the Bulls tying up their cap room for a few days for a chance to acquire a 24-year-old who would fit perfectly in the offense Hoiberg wants to run. And yes, Barnes played poorly in the Finals, but his inclusion on the 12-man Team USA Olympic squad says a lot about what talent evaluators around the league think of his ability.

If not Barnes, keep an eye on a pair of Portland restricted free agents. 23-year-old Mo Harkless and 24-year-old Allen Crabbe both fit the profile of players Forman discussed - young and athletic with 3-point range. Portland made a big move in the standings to reach the playoffs last season, and their front office is looking at some of the top centers on the market such as Hassan Whiteside and Al Horford. The Blazers might not be willing to match a significant offer for one of their young wing players.

Other names to watch for the Bulls include restricted free agents Terrence Jones, Dion Waiters, Dwight Powell and Jared Sullinger, along with unrestricted wings like Evan Turner, Eric Gordon, Lance Stephenson, Jeff Green, Wesley Johnson, Solomon Hill, Brandon Bass, O.J. Mayo, P.J. Hairston and Derrick Williams.

The Bulls front office could also decide to just re-sign Moore and save the rest of their cap room for 2017, when the list of free agents includes Curry, Russell Westbrook, Kyle Lowry and Blake Griffin. Forman made it clear the "re-tooling" effort is likely a two-year process, with the Bulls hoping to add a pair of first-round picks next summer and also have enough cap room to be a significant player in free agency.

So, enjoy the whirlwind of information and rumors that will be flooding social media over the next couple weeks. Just don't expect any franchise-transforming moves from the Bulls this summer.

Carmelo Anthony: 'I'm glad (Derrick Rose) is on my team'

Carmelo Anthony: 'I'm glad (Derrick Rose) is on my team'

by Jonathan Joffe

Derrick Rose has a new fan now that he's in New York: Carmelo Anthony.

Rose's new teammate and fellow multi-time all-star is a happy to be teaming up with the former Bull.

In addition to complimenting Rose's game, Anthony applauded the Knicks' front office for making moves that allow the team to be competitive in the upcoming season.

It was once thought that Melo and D-Rose could sport the same uniform aside from Olympic competitions. While it won't be in Chicago, the two will be making that thought a reality in New York.

Report: Pau Gasol tells Bulls he has declined option, becoming a free agent

Report: Pau Gasol tells Bulls he has declined option, becoming a free agent

It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, but Pau Gasol is hitting the market.

Gasol told the Bulls that he has declined his option for the 2016-17 season and will become a free agent, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.

The 35-year-old signed a three-year, $22.3 million deal with the Bulls in the summer of 2014.

In two seasons with the Bulls, he averaged 17.6 points per game and 11.4 rebounds and made an All-Star appearance.