Wednesday / February 05 / 2014
homer sayson

Photo: Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer gets up after getting knocked to the floor during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Feb. 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

CHICAGO -- In democracies like these United States, the freedom of speech is a constitutional right that citizens are encouraged to exercise when they see it fit.

While it is comforting to know that such power to redress a grievance can be wielded, it should never be forgotten that some words are still better left unsaid. Especially in the work place where a legitimate complaint can easily be misunderstood as pouting, or worse, dissension.

And this brings us to the case of Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer who went public yesterday with his displeasure over rarely playing in the fourth quarter of his team's games.

"I think I should be out there, but it's (coach Thibodeau's) choice. I play. I don't coach. But honestly, he's been doing that a lot since I've been here, not putting me in the fourth quarter. Sometimes we win, more times than not we don't," Boozer told the Chicago Tribune.

"I can only base it on performance," Thibodeau responded while trying the quell a pocket rebellion that was brewing. "So when we're going down the stretch in the fourth quarter it's always going to be the group that gives us the best chance to win."      

In lieu of Boozer, reserve Taj Gibson has been routinely playing in the homestretch. And for good reasons.

Despite his sheer size, the 6-foot-9, 266-pound Boozer isn't exactly a bare-knuckles competitor. He doesn't attack the low post like a big man should, opting instead to conveniently settle with fall away jumpers that opposing teams gladly dare him to take.

And while he is a 2-time All-Star, Boozer's resume' is littered with a collection of personal defensive failures. The joke is that he can't even guard a chair.

Photo: Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson, center, looks at the scoreboard as he sits on the bench with teammates Kirk Hinrich, left, and Carlos Boozer during the closing moments of the Bulls 99-70 loss to the Sacramento Kings in an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Feb. 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

In contrast, the 6-foot-9, 225-pound Gibson is a fearless defender and a more polished rebounder. At 28, he is four years younger than Boozer and is shooting 49 percent from the field in fourth quarters this season.

Against the league's best forwards, there are nights when Taj is short on skill and wanting in size. But he will never be outworked. In the Thibodeau establishment, however, effort and hard work always guarantees playing time.

"That's what I love about Taj. Taj could be upset he's not starting. He never complains. Whatever you ask him to do, he just goes out there and does it. To me, what he does speaks volumes. He's not talking about it, He's doing it," Thibodeau explained.

As the Kings routed the Bulls, 99-70, at the Sleep Train Arena yesterday, Boozer was a helpless bystander, scoring just eight points on 4-for-15 shooting.

And because Joakim Noah went nuts against the referees and was ejected in the 7:40 mark of the third quarter, Boozer did see some action in the fourth quarter, but his presence only allowed the Kings to balloon their lead to as many as 30 points.

As someone who gets paid to write an opinion, I wouldn't be so inclined to tell anybody to shut up. But while I do laud Boozer for ventilating his emotions on what he perceived as a slight, he should have done so privately, behind the closed doors of his coach's office, not through the media.

Nothing clean comes out each time teams air their dirty laundry in public.

If there was ever any doubt that the Bulls would use the amnesty clause on Boozer's final contract year worth $15 million next season, it has all but dissipated now.

After all, unity is the word, not mutiny.

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