It’s not easy being a Carlos Boozer apologist.

Forget he’s a Dukie and the free-agent fiasco in Cleveland after the 2003-04 season. Ignore the moments he comes across as somewhat fraudulent in interviews and his allergic reaction to playing consistently intense defense at a high level.

What’s left?

Actually, a serviceable power forward who never might live up to the five-year, $75 million contract he signed in the summer of 2010, but one who brings more to the table than he has been given credit for.

So as strange — and difficult — as it is, here are the five reasons the Bulls should keep Boozer — at least through this season:

1. Pre-hamstring issue, Boozer was playing as well as anyone on the Bulls’ roster in January. His 19.5 points and 10.1 rebounds a game for the month included outstanding performances against playoff-bound teams such as the Miami Heat (27 points, 12 rebounds), Milwaukee Bucks (22 points, 11 rebounds), Boston Celtics (19 points, 20 rebounds) and Memphis Grizzlies (17 points, 14 rebounds).

2. Boozer’s playoff history from the Bulls’ run to the Eastern Conference finals in 2010-11 has been slightly rewritten by fans because he actually showed up in the five-game loss to the Heat, averaging 14.4 points and 10.2 rebounds. By comparison, center Joakim Noah averaged six points and 9.8 rebounds in that series.

3. Boozer is scheduled to make $15.3 million next season and $16.8 million in 2014-15, but the Bulls likely would look for amnesty on his contract before that final season. That would take him off the books and clear space for what might be an elite free-agent class that summer.