The Bulls and Raptors engaged in trade talks centered on Carlos Boozer and Andrea Bargnani over a week ago, according to two league sources.
ESPN.com's Marc Stein first reported the talks, which a source told the Tribune were initiated by the Bulls and initially dismissed because of the Raptors' desire to land the Lakers' Pau Gasol. Though talks are not currently active, a source said the Raptors know the trade is available and could expand to include Nate Robinson and John Lucas III. Another source suggested it's unlikely the Raptors would take on Boozer's contract, which has $9.1 million more than Bargnani's over the next two seasons.
The Raptors recently added Rudy Gay's long-term contract via trade.
Boozer makes $5 million more than Bargnani this season. Coach Tom Thibodeau long has been an advocate of Lucas III, who is playing sparingly for the Raptors.
Despite the talks, there are no plans to use the amnesty provision on Boozer this summer. Boozer is having a strong season, but shedding his salary could improve the Bulls' long-term financial picture.
Memory lane: Friday will mark just the second time Boozer has played in Utah since leaving the Jazz after six seasons as a free agent in the summer of 2010. Booed loudly every time he touched the ball on Feb. 9, 2011, Boozer posted 14 points and six rebounds in the Bulls' 91-86 victory.
That game famously turned out to be Jerry Sloan's last as Jazz coach. The Bulls didn't play in Utah during the lockout-shortened season.
"Lot of great memories," Boozer said. "We fell short (of a championship) but competed."
Bulls, Raptors explore Boozer-Bargnani trade
Chicago Tribune | Feb 8