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Bulls owner was willing to go into luxury tax to get Pau Gasol… generous bajillionaire he is

Mar 24, 2012, 4:00 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

So that Pau-Gasol-to-Chicago rumor before the dealing fell apart pretty quick because, to be honest, the idea of anyone saying “Heck yeah, we want Carlos Boozer!” right now is like the joke in a trailer for one of those teen romcoms. You know it’s coming and though it is technically humorous, it’s not actually funny. But ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reported Friday that the Bulls were so serious about it, they were willing to give the most serious commitment their organization can. It was willing to go into the luxury tax.

Gasp!

From ESPN.com:

Chicago’s talks with the Los Angeles Lakers regarding Pau Gasol before the trade deadline never got too far, largely because the Lakers had no interest in taking back Carlos Boozer … and because the Bulls weren’t about to find a third team willing to join the talks to absorb the three years and $47 million remaining on Boozer’s deal to help Chicago get the Spaniard.

File this away, though.

Sources with knowledge of Chicago’s thinking told ESPN.com that Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf was prepared last week to go into the luxury tax if necessary if a legit trade scenario involving Gasol had materialized.

via Weekend Dime — Scouts on Lakers, Knicks and more – ESPN.

For those that don’t know, this is a really big deal. Despite consistently being one of the most profitable teams as the owner of Jordan’s former and Rose’s current club in a large market, Reinsdorf basically acts like paying the tax is pulling teeth. So maybe, if things went really well, he’d consider paying the tax if he were to get one of the top five big men in the NBA. That’s just swell. Reinsdorf has been pushing the “maybe I’ll pay the tax!” line for a while. This is from November:

Chicago Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf on Wednesday reiterated through a team spokesman that he would give strong consideration to incurring the luxury tax if the player acquisition gave the team a reasonable chance to win a championship.

That answer is similar in sentiment to Reinsdorf’s response on the subject from a 2009 interview. However, with a more punitive luxury tax poised to take effect in 2013-14 of the pending 10-year collective bargaining agreement, as well as increased revenue sharing, the question applied anew.

via Reinsdorf: Luxury tax won’t preclude Bulls’ bid for key addition – Chicago Tribune.

This actually may show more about the Bulls’ realization regarding Boozer than anything. With Rose’s extension kicking into high gear next season and with the luxury tax rates set to raise to painful levels in two seasons, the Bulls are probably starting to understand that giving Boozer his huge deal may have been, oh, what’s the word, a complete and total disaster.

Which is a bit of an exaggeration. Look, Tom Thibodeau has found a way to make Boozer a competent member of an elite defense. Boozer’s ability to hit the mid-range jumper is something the Bulls have needed for years and that Joakim Noah will probably never have consistently. Is he overpaid? Sure. But in a few years, Kobe Bryant will be, too. These are pretty standard problems. At least Reinsdorf is saying that if the team is good enough and worthy of the investment he’ll make it, even if that belies the obscene amount of money he makes off the team anyway.

And if you think no one will take Boozer, I would ask that you look around the league and witness the kind of deals which have been moved over the past three seasons. There’s always a sucker out there somewhere.

  1. lakerluver - Mar 24, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    I love Pau but if the Bulls had offered Deng and Noah I’d like believe the LAKERS would’ve done it. No one wants Boozer.

    • aqzi - Mar 24, 2012 at 5:55 PM

      What’s with the capitalization of Lakers?

  2. mungman69 - Mar 24, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    Lakers are fine as is.

    • philtration - Mar 24, 2012 at 9:41 PM

      And the Bulls are better than the Lakers as is.

      • chargerdillon - Mar 25, 2012 at 4:05 PM

        AHAHAHAHA Yea….you’re right they are better than the Lakers

        And still just bad enough to choke against the Heat like they will again this year

  3. lakerluver - Mar 24, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    @aqzi, the LAKERS are the preeminent franchise in the NBA. Therefore, they earn the honor of ALL CAPS, my friend.

  4. Mr. Wright 212 - Mar 24, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    Sessions puts the Lake show over the top. Glad they didn’t do this deal.

  5. dadawg77 - Mar 24, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    Boozer might work with LA as he can play pick and pop with Kobe whilr opening the paint for Bynum more. Then again this could be the Bulls fan in me talking. Either way I wouldwouldn’tbe surprise if Boozer isnt around next year as amnestying him would free up cap room.

    • cosanostra71 - Mar 25, 2012 at 1:22 PM

      yes, that is definitely the Bulls fan in you talking.

  6. therealhtj - Mar 24, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    Seriously why on Earth this ever even was discussed is absolutely mind boggling. The only way the Lakers move Pau to Chicago is for Rose and the Bulls wouldn’t even move Rose for Kobe.

    Nobody, I mean nobody, would take on Boozer’s contract considering it become ineligible for Amnesty the minute he’s traded.

    Boozer’s amnestied next year most likely, but definitely before the supertax kicks in.

  7. berto55 - Mar 24, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    Amnestying Boozer creates basically no cap room and you still have to pay him $15 Million to not play. There is no way that happens. Besides, he’s not that bad, if he made $8 Million, nobody would talk about how bad he is defensively. He can consistently hit the mid-range jumper and does rebound, it’s not like he can’t play. Partially thanks to D Rose signing the most lucrative contract possible, this team is what it will be unless they can find someone willing to take Boozer (most likely with a piece with value like Deng or Noah). They will go into luxury tax territory if they want to exercise their Bird rights on the young players they already have. Mind you, I think they would be a better team if Gibson played more than Boozer, but facts are facts and that won’t happen.

  8. Hope Wabuke - Mar 24, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    Lakers should never even talk about trading Gasol. With this new Mike Brown system, all we’ve ever needed this season is a PG to get in the paint and defend and score.

  9. losangelasbasketball - Mar 24, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    the only thing consistent about boozer is his mach3 razor skills…

  10. hoopshort - Mar 25, 2012 at 12:20 AM

    Someone will take Boozer, remember my sixers even moved Shawn Bradley!

  11. glink123 - Mar 25, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Boozer has averaged 20ppg and 10rpg over the past 9 years. He’s currently averaging nearly 16ppg and 8rpg, shooting nearly 55 percent from the field. In terms of Forwards in the league averaging more than 15ppg and 8rpg, Boozer is actually one of the lowest paid guys on that list. Tell me, geniuses, where exactly would the Bulls acquire a replacement PF who will provide more than 15ppg, and more than 8rpg, and do it for less than $15 million per season?

    • dalauder - Mar 26, 2012 at 7:18 PM

      You’re forgetting one key issue–how many points do opponents average against him? Sure, Amare can score 22ppg. But when Biedrins or Dampier score 18 every time Amare guards them while shooting 75% to his 50%, it makes him more harmful than helpful.

      Now I’m not enough of a fool to say Boozer is nearly as worthless as Amare Stoudemire, but if the Bulls could get someone like Ibaka to replace him, they should take that in a heartbeat. Deng or someone else will pick up the scoring and Ibaka’s midrange is improving. You can’t replace hard work or defensive-mindedness (although Kobe can lose it). You can replace, what seems to be Boozer’s only asset based off of this article and these comments, a midrange jumper.

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