Sep 27, 2013; Deerfield, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose (1), center Joakim Noah (13) and head coach Tom Thibodeau pose for a photo during media day at the Berto Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Rudy Gay: trade to Chicago for Carlos Boozer?

Is Jalen Rose correct in his belief that Rudy Gay will be moving from the Toronto Raptors sooner rather than later? If so, where does he go? I’ll attempt to answer that question in an occasional series over the next few weeks. We’ll start today by proposing a trade of Rudy Gay to the Chicago Bulls for Carlos Boozer.

Let’s deal with the fundamentals first. This trade works straight-up, meaning that the two players can be exchanged without needing to throw in washed-up veterans from either team to make the salaries work. Carlos Boozer is an 11-year NBA veteran who parlayed his slim opportunity as a second-round draft pick out of Duke into a successful pro career as a scoring power forward.

Raps do this deal because: Rudy’s contract is a giant millstone around GM Masai Ujiri’s neck. The player can opt in to the final year of his grossly overpaid contract next season, and he’d be a fool if he didn’t. Who is going to pay him $19.3M otherwise? Boozer’s contract is finished after next season [h/t: reader Guy for correction], and I’d rather try to trade Boozer for kids at the trade deadline than Rudy. If Boozer isn’t moved, Ujiri would go into the offseason with $4M more than with Rudy to sign free agents. [20-second timeout: Hoops fans are all in a tizzy over the potential collegiate superstars who are expected to declare for the draft in 2014, and rightly so. However, mid-tier NBA players aren't so thrilled - a lot of them will be looking for work as Andrew Wiggins and his unusually large and talented cohort turns pro. I think there will be a great deal of roster juggling which will occur prior to the '14-'15 season, and a GM with money to spend (like, say...Toronto's Masai Ujiri), will be in a wonderful position to sign some NBA veterans at a discount.] Oh…Carlos can still play. He would push Amir Johnson to the bench, which I think is better for our team. And I think having a respected veteran like Carlos on the Raps would be helpful for our kids.

Apr 12, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward Rudy Gay (22) goes up to make a basket between Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer (5) and center Nazr Mohammed (48) at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated Chicago 97-88. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Bulls do this deal because: They have legitimate championship aspirations, and Rudy will help them more than Carlos. If I’m Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, I’m licking my chops at the thought of putting on the floor a sharp-shooting lineup featuring former MVP Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Mike Dunleavy, Jimmy Butler, and now Rudy, with the tireless Joachim Noah to protect the rim. There would be no rest for the opposition defenders. I’d wager the Bulls would be one of the NBA’s top three teams in scoring. Rudy is often considered a ball-stopper on offense, but I don’t think he’s hard-wired that way (like Carmelo Anthony is, for instance); Rudy has had to shoot a lot with the teams he’s been on. That would not be the case in Chicago. Rudy is also a better defender than people realize, which he’ll need to be to play for a martinet like Thibodeau.

Verdict: In the short term, i.e., this season, the Bulls win this deal. Our small forward situation would be dismal – Landry Fields? GAG. But the cap relief Ujiri gets is worth it. Make it happen.

Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.

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Tags: Carlos Boozer Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose Joachim Noah NBA Trades Rudy Gay Tom Thibodeau Toronto Raptors

  • Guy

    Hate to correct you Brian, but Boozer’s contract does not expire this season. He’s on the books for the 2014-15 season for $16.8 million. That alone makes a Rudy for Boozer deal something to avoid as there is really no payroll benefit.

    As for Rudy’s contract, while $19 mill is a huge number, I’m not convinced he automatically picks up the option. There are a lot of teams with cap space next year, & if they miss out on snagging the big name they wanted, they’ll be looking for a fallback. Assuming Rudy produces his usual numbers this season(18pts, 6rbs, 2 asts) he’d likely be looking at another large contract as that fallback option. If he picks up his option, he assumes a lot of risk. A decline in production &/or an injury, could prevent him from ever seeing another eight-figure salary.

    So that begs this question…if Rudy indicates he’s opting out, what do you do? Do your best to re-sign him? Trade him & get what you can? Work out a more complicated sign & trade for assets? Or let him walk & reclaim a bunch of cap space?

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Guy:
      You’re right about Carlos’ extra year. I wasn’t looking at an authoritative site when I noted this was his last year. I’m now going to be sure to follow a new Law for myself: don’t try to write a complicated post when you don’t feel well. I’ll adjust the post & give you a hat tip.
      Thanks for editing.

  • jb

    I still don’t understand why the Bulls do this trade. Rudy is first and foremost a SF. The game is moving towards small ball with SF moving to PF spots but that doesn’t mean every team is adopting a permanent small ball team. They could potentially make this trade and move Taj Gibson who’s been yearning for starter minutes to the PF spot, but that would move Deng or Gay to the bench and no team is paying 15 mill+ for bench minutes. Second you’re right that Boozer is a nice asset next year. Which is why it would make more sense for the Bulls to keep Boozer and make a move using him for draft pieces or even more depth.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi jb:
      The Bulls make this trade if they believe the path to serious championship contention is found by outscoring everybody. Gay would have a huge impact on their offense. No team could run with them.
      As to Deng or Gay being high-priced bench people: I’ll wager a savvy coach like Thibodeau wouldn’t have any difficulty working both of those guys into the lineup. The Bulls would have ridiculous depth; their second unit might score as much as their first.
      As someone who’s watched Raps teams repeatedly collapse because of injuries to key personnel, I can tell you that keeping your key players healthy is incredibly important. And that starts with keeping their playing time at a reasonable level. With Rudy, the Bulls would have 6 or 7 starter-grade players.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • ejmfoley

    Makes the Bulls too small.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi ejm:
      Hmmm…the Bulls’ website lists Boozer at 6’9″, and Rudy is on the Raps’ site as an inch shorter. I don’t think you’re losing much.
      Admittedly Carlos has better rebounding numbers, but Rudy plays on the perimeter so that’s not a surprise.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • Rowdy101

    Funny thing is, for the first time in a long time, we have players that actually want to play in Toronto. They are all young, and feel they have something to prove. There may be pieces missing, but something positive has to come out of this group.

    Gay included. I think he is a breath of fresh air to all this, and frankly, he now has a new set of eyes.

    Talk like this is unproductive. Give him a chance and be positive.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Rowdy:
      Your point is well taken. I’ll be at an event with Masai & Tim Leiweke this Friday, and if I get the chance I’ll ask if the trade winds are swirling around Rudy, or do they really plan to let this group breath, as you suggest.
      That said, I will be running a few more trade scenarios as I promised. You’ll have a chance to register your disapproval when I’m done, as I’ll be running a poll asking if any of the trades make sense, or should Masai stop answering the phone.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • RyanMueller

    Although I completely disagree with this trade, I disagree with your views on Fields. This guy struggled last year with injuries and still showed he is a plus defender, which I am sure I don’t have to remind you is an area this teams to see continued improvements if we want to be respectable. I would like to see Fields stay healthy and be a difference maker of the bench this year.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Ryan:
      Yikes…a double disagreement!
      I’m going to post more Gay trades. Perhaps you’ll find one you like better.
      As to Fields – I don’t think my views on him are too harsh. He had a dreadful season due to injuries, and needs to bounce back. By all accounts, he’s a quality individual, and hopefully is determined to work his way back to relevance. I’d be very happy for the Raps to get a strong year from the guy.
      Finally, Yes, we need improved defense to win. Bargnani in New York may be the first step.
      Thanks for commenting.

      • RyanMueller

        I agree the subtraction of Primo will improve the raps interior D. I wouldn’t trade Gay until next season. The NBA puts alot of value on high priced expiring contracts and I feel that we could get more return next season, but I am not GM. Gay is young and could really help this team move forward.

        • Newmarket_Brian

          Hi Ryan:
          I like young players too. You’ll see evidence of that this weekend, as I’ve got another post cooking which I hope you’ll find more palatable.
          I should stress: I’m not anti-Rudy. While I wouldn’t have made the trade that brought him to Toronto, he’s here now and seems to want to contribute. I’m good with that.
          Regards, B.

  • Dude

    a good trade partner for the raptors would be the lakers. Pau Gasol straight up for Rudy Gay makes sense on both sides. Lakers get a younger 3 who could slide at the 4 which gives Dantoni the stretch 4 he wants and Pau gives the raptors veteran leadership and whether people like it or not he is still one of the best skilled big men in the nba.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Dude:
      Give me a day to look at this trade.
      Thanks for bringing it to my attention.