Shortly after the Raptors traded for Rudy Gay rumors started to spread that they were looking to bolster their front court as well. First, Pau Gasol’s name came up, but with him going down for the remainder of the season a trade seems unlikely. According to Marc Stein the Raptors went from inquiring about a center with an albatross contract to a power forward with one in Carlos Boozer.
“The Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors have engaged in exploratory trade discussions on a deal that would swap the Bulls’ Carlos Boozer for the Raptors’ Andrea Bargnani, according to sources familiar with the discussions.”
Why for the Bulls:
Despite Carlos Boozer having his best year in Chicago, he remains one of the more overpaid players in the NBA. Despite being a stellar offensive player Boozer does not have the quickness to have the same impact on the defensive end. When it comes down to crunch time Tom Thibedeau does not have enough faith in Boozer’s defensive ability to put him on the court. No player who is paid near max dollars should be on the bench in the closing minutes. The fact that Boozer isn’t always in the game in crucial situations is everything you need to know about Chicago’s willingness to move him.
More so than any other team in the league the Bulls rely on screens, ball movement and cuts to create their offense. For those three facets of their offense to be successful spacing is extremely important. If opponents can pack the defense in the paint with no fear of leaving three point shooters open defense becomes easy.
The Bulls are 29th in the league in three pointers made and last in three pointers attempted. Adding Bargnani would improve the Bull’s three point shooting, and more importantly their spacing. A pick and pop player such as Bargs could prevent teams from sagging into the lane on a Derrick Rose drive, making one of the best dribble drive players even more difficult to drive. In addition to reshaping their floor spacing The Bulls would save themselves five million over the life of the contracts. Who knows, if anyone can get Bargnani to play defense it will be Tom Thidedeau.
Why for the Raptors:
The Raptors are tired of being awful. They have had enough of waiting on ping pong balls to drag them out of the basement. With the Rudy Gay trade Toronto ownership has shown that it is willing to take on salary in order to make the playoffs a reality sooner than later.
In terms of talent Carlos Boozer is better than Andrea Bargnani. He is a much better rebounder and has a better feel for scoring. In Toronto where defense is less of an emphasis Boozer would surely be on the court in clutch situations. The question is will the Raptors consent to committing to Boozer’s long term contract
Check out the other posts in our February Trade Rumors Series: