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Bulls seeking scoring help at forward

Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibs(22) dries past WashingtWizards forward Al Harringt(7) during first half Game 4 an opening-round NBA basketball

Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson (22) dries past Washington Wizards forward Al Harrington (7) during the first half of Game 4 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series in Washington, Sunday, April 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) ORG XMIT: VZN108

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Who’s departing

Carlos Boozer (below). Sitting in his full warmups in the fourth quarter despite making
$15.3 million should be evidence enough about why it’s time to part ways.

Lou Amundson and Ronnie Brewer. Both were added late and are likely to be used as trade fodder this summer.

Updated: June 26, 2014 6:26AM



Since losing out on the best basketball player on the planet in the ‘‘Summer of LeBron’’ in 2010, the Bulls have been doing their best to justify settling for the consolation prize that was Carlos Boozer.

It now appears that will be coming to an end.

Despite general manager Gar Forman insisting that a decision to seek amnesty on the last season of Boozer’s contract ‘‘doesn’t have to be made until July,’’ sources indicated at the end of the Bulls’ season that a decision already had been made and that Boozer wouldn’t be returning.

Then Sixth Man of the Year runner-up Taj Gibson confirmed Friday that he had been told to use the offseason to prepare to go from reserve to starter at power forward.

‘‘I mean, this will be exciting,’’ Gibson said in a phone interview. ‘‘This is what I’ve always thought about. When I started [six games] for Boozer when he was hurt during the [regular] season, I just know how excited I was, how good it felt to come to the arena.’’

But simply moving Gibson into the starting lineup doesn’t remedy the lack of scoring the Bulls have at the forward spots. In a league driven by star forwards such as LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony, the Bulls are lacking in that department.

WHO’S COMING BACK

Taj Gibson (left). Gibson is coming off a career season and has a favorable contract that runs through 2016-17. Joakim Noah doesn’t want Carmelo Anthony in a Bulls uniform if it costs them having Gibson on the roster.

Mike Dunleavy. So much for coming off the bench to help spread the floor. After the Bulls traded Luol Deng in early January, Dunleavy moved into a starting role and completely outplayed the $3 million he was paid.

Greg Smith. Smith was picked up late in the season despite rehabbing a knee injury. The Bulls have plans for him as Gibson moves into the starting lineup.

WHO’S DEPARTING

Carlos Boozer (below). Sitting in his full warmups in the fourth quarter despite making $15.3 million should be evidence enough about why it’s time to part ways.

Lou Amundson and Ronnie Brewer. Both were added late and are likely to be used as trade fodder this summer.

WHAT’S OUT THERE

With LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh among the players who can opt out of their deals to become free agents, this summer has drama written all over it. Then add in the possible trade sweepstakes for power forward Kevin Love, and it will be a significant offseason for general manager Gar Forman and vice president of basketball operations John Paxson. The Bulls also will be looking to bring highly coveted Nikola Mirotic over from the Spanish league.

POSSIBLE TARGETS: The Bulls will try to go big. If it doesn’t happen, they could use the money from Boozer’s contract to add depth with a player such as Shawn Marion or Paul Pierce.

THE DRAFT

It’s a good year to have two first-round draft picks, especially with a number of versatile forwards in the pool. Doug McDermott’s scoring would be welcomed, but he likely will be long gone by the time the Bulls select at Nos. 16 and 19. That leaves players such as Adreian Payne, James Young and Jerami Grant.

POSSIBLE DRAFT TARGETS: Payne would be ideal because of his ability to stretch the floor.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @suntimes_hoops



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