After endless rumors and speculation about whether the Bulls would ever use their amnesty provision on Carlos Boozer, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting on Wednesday night that the Bulls will in fact go ahead and use the clause on their veteran power forward.
Boozer's future appears to be done in Chicago regardless, as ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst reports that the team told Boozer that he will be amnestied or be dealt in a sign-and-trade.
Per rules of the newest collective bargaining agreement if Boozer is amnestied, the $16.8 million in annual salary that he was set to earn will still be paid to him, but it will not count against the Bulls' salary cap. Last season for the Bulls, the 32-year-old two-time All-Star averaged 13.7 points and 8.3 rebounds in 28 minutes per game, making 76 appearances.
The move effectively gives Chicago greater flexibility in going out and recruiting a free agent. On Wednesday, All-Stars Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose as well as members of the Bulls front office spent several hours with Knicks free agent forward Carmelo Anthony to attempt to persuade him to sign with the Bulls for next season.
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Bulls representatives will travel to Los Angeles on Thursday to meet with center Pau Gasol, who is reportedly their top target after Anthony. According to Cowley, the Bulls also made an inquiry with Pacers free agent Lance Stephenson's camp.
Cowley also reported on Wednesday that Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is interested in going after Wizards free agent Trevor Ariza should Chicago lose out on the Anthony sweepstakes.