Decision on Boozer amnesty lingers

CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls executive vice president John Paxson insists his team has not made a decision on one of the most important questions hanging over its head.

Will the final year of Carlos Boozer's contract be amnestied after this season? Paxson addressed the possibility with more transperancy than ever before during a Tuesday news conference.

"Everybody knows that we have the amnesty clause available to us," Paxson said. "And it's a decision that will be made, but it's not being made today. It will be made at some point, but you can't do it now if you want to do it.

"But let me say this about Carlos, OK, because I think Carlos sometimes gets a little bit unfair criticism. When you think about the last three or four years, the one player who has practiced every day, played almost every game, come into the practice facility or the United Center with a positive attitude has been Carlos Boozer. He's been good for our team, he's been good for our guys. And we take those things into consideration. No decision has been made and the fact is we don't have to make that decision today so it's not worth discussing really."

Boozer has maintained that after 12 years in the league he tries not to let any of the speculation bother him. But he did acknowledge the decision to trade All-Star forward Luol Deng had an impact on him and his teammates.

"We all were very surprised," Boozer said. "Obviously we know it's a move to give the team more flexibility. For us on a personal level, we love Luol. Obviously his presence has already been missed just this morning. The things he did for us, our team, our community, we miss Luol a lot. And obviously we wish him the best but as a brother we miss him."

Boozer acknowledged it's frustrating to come to grips with the fact that the Bulls were title contenders before the season and now must fight to earn a playoff spot.

"It's tough, man," he said, when asked about the unfulfilled potential of this Bulls core. "Derrick [Rose] being hurt all last year, being hurt again this year as well made that tough. And then moving Lu makes it tougher."

Compounding matters is the fact Boozer will miss his second consecutive game Tuesday night because of a sore knee.