The worst kept secret in Chicago was that before the 2014-15 season started, Carlos Boozer would not be a member of the Chicago Bulls. Well weeks after they got eliminated from the playoffs, information is coming out that confirms that information. Taj Gibson confirmed that Bulls officials told him to prepare to be a starter.
In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley, Gibson said “I mean, this will be exciting. This is what I’ve always thought about. When I started for Boozer when he was hurt during the season, I just know how excited I was, how good it felt to come to the arena.’’
Gibson started six games in Boozer’s place when he was injured. In those games, the Bulls went 5-1.
Boozer had his worse year as a Bull this season. He averaged 13.7 points and 8.3 rebounds, both averages his lowest since his rookie season (10 points and 7.5 rebounds).
Gibson was runner-up in voting for the NBA Sixth Man award. He averaged 13 points and 6.8 rebounds this season in 28.7 minutes coming off of the bench. In the six games he started in Boozer’s place, he averaged 20.6 points and 9.7 rebounds.
The Bulls are considering one of two options to deal with Boozer. Option one is to amnesty him. He would be cut, and the Bulls would still owe him the $16.8 million he is due, but the money won’t go against the salary cap.
Option two is to look for a trading partner. Next season is the last year of Boozer’s contract, and an expiring contract would be attractive for a team to pick up. Finding a trade would be difficult, however, when a team knows that the player could just be released and he could be picked up at a cheaper price.
There is a problem with Gibson starting next season. The Bulls are supposedly in the bunt for either Kevin Love or Carmelo Anthony. Both of them are power forwards, so if Gibson is starting that means neither Love nor Anthony are in a Bulls uniform.
If Gibson is the second choice, he is still a good one. He has put in his time and has worked hard to improve his game. There are still options with other players, such as the discussions going on to bring Nikola Mirotic to Chicago from Europe. That may be the way the Bulls ultimately go.
Gibson won’t be the answer the Bulls’ problems with scoring, so if he is their choice at power forward, there better be someone else with the scoring answer.