In his latest column for the New York Daily News, Mitch Lawrence reveals some interesting tidbits about the Bulls’ future. Lawrence hears from a source with knowledge of the club’s plans that the team wants to move Luol Deng before the trade deadline and plans to amnesty Carlos Boozer this offseason.
We’ve heard that several teams have interest in Deng. His name has been brought up in rumors as part of a potential Andrew Bynum deal, but it’s been reported that the Bulls aren’t interested in such a move. It’s worth noting that many clubs might be unwilling to part with valuable assets for Deng, since he’s on an expiring contract and set to be a big name in free agency come next summer. Earlier reports indicated that the Bulls wanted to retain the veteran forward, but Lawrence’s source says Chicago isn’t willing to pay top dollar for him.
Lawrence also hears that the Bulls plan to amnesty Boozer next summer. Boozer, 32, is set to make $16.8MM in 2014/15, and his on-court production has taken a hit across the board. He’s still playing 30 minutes per game, but his averages in points, rebounds, and field goal percentage are below his career marks. Earlier this month, we passed along a piece that depicted Boozer and Kendrick Perkins as the last players that looked like realistic candidates to be amnestied.
These potential moves, should they come to fruition, would show that the Bulls intend to rebuild the club after losing Derrick Rose to yet another season ending injury. At 13-18, Chicago would still make the postseason as the seventh seed in the weak Eastern Conference if the season ended today. However, it would appear the team is interested in building a squad that could contend for a title down the road rather than just a putting together a club that will finish as a lower-tier playoff group year after year. Lawrence hears neither Rose nor Tom Thibodeau is thrilled with the prospect of rebuilding, but it might be the only way the Bulls can craft a team with realistic title hopes.