Bulls Exploring Boozer Trade For Bargnani

February 8 2013 at 7:58am CDT By Daniel Seco

FRIDAY, 7:58am: The discussions between the Raptors and Bulls happened over a week ago, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, who says talks were initiated by the Bulls. Talks aren't currently active, but could be revisited by the Raps and could also expand to include Nate Robinson and John Lucas III.

Both Johnson and Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times suggest a deal is unlikely, since Toronto would be reluctant to take on Boozer's contract. According to Johnson, the Bulls are also not likely to amnesty Boozer this summer, assuming they hang on to him through February 21st.

THURSDAY, 5:09pm: The Bulls are looking into a potential trade with the Raptors that would send big man Carlos Boozer to Toronto in exchange for Andrea Bargnani, writes Marc Stein of ESPN.com. More pieces will need to be added to any prospective deal as Boozer makes $5MM more than Bargnani this season. 

While the Bulls could seemingly save money with the deal, the Raptors do not have an expiring contract to send to Chicago, thus making financial flexibility less likely for the Bulls. Conversely, the addition of Boozer to the Toronto roster would likely put the Raptors well into the luxury tax for next season. If traded, neither player would be eligible to be amnestied by their new team as an amnesty candidate must be on his pre-lockout team under a pre-lockout contract.

Boozer, 31, would provide the Raptors with a strong post presence as he's averaged 15.7 PPG and 9.6 RPG in 45 appearances. Toronto originally had interest in acquiring Pau Gasol from the Lakers until the Spaniard injured his foot earlier this week.

Bargnani, 27, offers the Bulls perimeter shooting that the team believes it so desperately lacks. The former overall number one pick has averaged 15.9 PPG and 4.3 RPG in 22 games this season.

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