Carlos Boozer, who played his high school basketball in Juneau, appears headed to the Chicago Bulls with a contract that reaffirms his status as Alaska's highest-paid athlete.
Boozer, a two-time All Star forward from Juneau, accepted a five-year deal with the Bulls on Wednesday, according to a report on the Bulls website. Terms of the deal won't be made public until today, but multiple news outlets report that it's worth $75 to $80 million.
Boozer's previous contract -- a six-year, $70 million deal with the Utah Jazz -- expired at the end of the season.
A two-time Olympian and two-time Alaska Player of the Year, Boozer is the latest domino to fall in a busy and pricey off-season in the National Basketball League.
Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh confirmed Wednesday they will play in Miami next season, where they'll be joined by the only other Alaskan in the NBA, former Bartlett High star Mario Chalmers.
But the big news will come today when LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the jewel of this star-studded class, announces whether he'll stay in Cleveland or go elsewhere. He'll make his choice public during an hour-long ESPN special called "The Decision."
Chicago is still in the running to land James, whom Boozer played with at the beginning of his career when both were in Cleveland. Adding Boozer strengthens the Bulls' standing in the Eastern Conference -- and maybe makes them more attractive to James, who has yet to win an NBA championship.
The Chicago Tribune reported that when Boozer accepted the Bulls' offer, he vowed to try to personally recruit James, who was also his former Olympic teammate.
Boozer averaged 19.5 points and 11.2 rebounds last season. His arrival gives the Bulls a formidable pair in the frontcourt with Joakim Noah, not to mention a good pick-and-roll partner for All-Star point guard Derrick Rose.
There is some irony in Boozer's move to Chicago. Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson's brother, Jim, was Cleveland's general manager when Boozer left the Cavaliers in controversy following the 2003-04 season.
Cleveland, which could have exercised a one-year option after Boozer's second season, thought they had a six-year, $41 million agreement in place and let him hit the market. Boozer wound up accepting a six-year, $68 million dollar contract as a restricted free agent that Cleveland chose not to match.
Jim Paxson is now a Bulls' consultant and scout.
With Boozer, the Bulls finally have a big man who will command double-teams -- something they've craved for years -- and can hit the jumper.
Durability issues have plagued Boozer, who missed 138 games in his six seasons with the Jazz.
But the Bulls focused more on his playoff averages of 20.3 points and 12.5 rebounds in 44 career games.
He played in 78 games this past season.
PAID TO PLAY
Carlos Boozer’s five-year deal with the Chicago Bulls reportedly will earn him $75 to $80 million, reaffirming his status as Alaska’s highest-paid athlete. Here’s what some of Alaska’s other pros have earned:
Scott Gomez Montreal Canadiens $51.5 million over seven years; earned $7.35 million last season
Matt Carle Philadelphia Flyers $13.75 million over four years; earned $3.43 million last season
Brandon Dubinsky New York Rangers $3.7 million over two years; earned $1.85 million last season
Mario Chalmers Miami Heat $2.31 million over three years; contract ends after upcoming season
Zach Bowman Chicago Bears $310,000 in base salary, 2009
Chris Kuper Denver Broncos $1.01 million in base salary, 2009
Daryn Colledge Green Bay Packers $535,000 in base salary, 2009
Mark Schlereth (retired) Denver Broncos $2.33 million in total salary (base and bonus), 2000, his final season
Travis Hall (retired) Atlanta Falcons $7.2 million in total salary (including a $5.8 million signing bonus) in 2002, his highest paid season in an 11-year career
Sean Rash $54,110, 2009-10 earnings ($419,855 since joining tour in 2005-06)
Kelsey Griffin Connecticut Sun $45,827, current season
Daily News wire services