CHICAGO (AP) — Carlos Boozer is now officially a member of the Chicago Bulls.The two-time All-Star forward is going to the Bulls in a sign-and-trade with the Utah Jazz, giving them the dominant big man they’ve craved for years.He and the Bulls agreed Wednesday to what several outlets reported was a five-year deal worth roughly $75 million dollars. Shortly after Chicago announced the signing on Thursday, Jazz spokesman Jonathan Rinehart said Utah sent him along with a future protected second-round pick to the Bulls for a trade exception.The deal gives the Jazz salary cap flexibility while the Bulls get a major presence inside.”I feel we have the talent here to begin competing for a title and I cannot wait to get started,” Boozer said.The Bulls also confirmed the draft day trade that sent Kirk Hinrich and his $9 million salary along with the rights to No. 17 pick Kevin Seraphin to Washington. They received the rights to 2006 second-rounder Vladimir Veremeenko in return. But more important, that deal put them in position to sign two major stars.They already had an All-Star point guard in Derrick Rose and one of the leading rebounders in Joakim Noah.Now, with the flexibility to make a big splash in free agency, the Bulls were looking for more after back-to-back first-round playoff exits.They did that when they reeled in Boozer on Wednesday, after Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh decided to team together in Miami instead of Chicago. By landing Boozer, the Bulls ensured they wouldn’t go away empty-handed.”We are confident that his skill set, toughness and leadership are all qualities that make him a great fit for the Bulls, and he will add a low-post element to our team that we have been searching for,” Bulls general manager Gar Forman said in a statement. “Post players, with the skills that Carlos possesses, are at a premium in the NBA and we believe that we have landed one of the best big men in the NBA.”Most years, Boozer might be the top free agent, but this is like no other offseason. Teams did all they could to clear salary cap room to go after the stars, and the Bulls were no exception.They made a big move by landing Boozer, who spent six years with Utah and averaged 19.5 points and 11.2 rebounds last season. His arrival gives the Bulls a big man who will attract double-teams, taking some pressure off Rose, and another double-double player to go with Noah.Although he sometimes clashed with management and was limited by injuries in three of his six years with the Jazz, Boozer played in 78 games the past season. His arrival in Utah came after an awkward exit from Cleveland following the 2003-04 season.The Cavaliers, who 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 they chose not to match.The Cavaliers’ general manager at the time was Jim Paxson, who is now a Bulls scout and consultant. And his brother John Paxson is Chicago’s executive vice president of basketball operations.
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