There is no doubt that Chris Bosh is a superstar. A franchise player. The Raptors' best. And at this point in his career - I'm sure you have heard about it - he has negotiated the right to freedom from contract. Being that CB4 is a huge stud, this situation has attracted tones of media attention over the last few seasons. Every word he utters is scrutinized for hidden meaning. So what is he going to do? At the end of the day it is about legacy for Bosh. Should he stay in Toronto and be the man while trying to push this franchise to new heights? Should he bolt to another city and play Robin to Lebron or Wade; winning a bunch of championships in the process. Or should he start fresh as the franchise guy somewhere else.
Yesterday I wrote an expose explaining possible scenarios the Raptors could pursue if Bosh decides not to jump ship. The possibilities were not plentiful. In this post I will discuss sign and trade scenarios that may arise if Bosh decides to skip town for greener pastures.
Chris has agreed to work closely with Bryan Colangelo to return value to the team if he bounces. Don't be fooled though Raptors fans, this means Bosh is firmly in the driver's seat. Bosh has likely gone through every scenario in his head thus far. "Should I go to Miami?" "Should I push Wade to come to TO?" "Should I be the man in Chicago?" etc. If Bosh decides to bail he will tell BC which teams are suitable for him, and not the other way around. If he doesn't like the way things are going, he can simply walk and sign wherever he wants to. I read an article the other day suggesting BC should try and pawn off Turkoglu on whatever team lands Bosh. If you were Chris Bosh, would you be ok with that? I didn't think so. Bosh is one hell of an asset, so if he does decide to bolt, the situation in Raptors land will not be so bleak. Here's a rundown of possible sign and trade scenarios:
Houston: Bosh for Scola, Battier, Jordan Hill and Chase Budinger
Since Bosh is from Dallas, all three Texas based teams are in play. The Rockets are reportedly very interested in CB4 (o ya?). A starting five of Yao, Bosh, Ariza, KMart, Brooks would be championship contenders. They have publicly stated that bringing back Scola is a priority, but if Bosh says I want to be a Rocket, Scola is as good as gone. Apparently the Raptors brass are "intrigued" (ok?) by Hill. I don't think this is the best option for the Raptors, but what Bosh wants, Bosh will get. A starting five of Bargs, Scola, Turk, Sonny, Jack/Jose is not very good at all. Don't count on them making the playoffs.
Dallas: Bosh for Dirk, straight up
Not the most likely of scenarios, but I read an article recently that made a semi-convincing argument for trading Bosh for Dirk. The argument went as follows: Bosh is a Dallas native and clearly would relish the opportunity to play in his hometown. The Mavs are sick of Dirk and could use a fresh start, slot Bosh into the starting five beside Haywood, Marion, Butler and Kidd, upstart Rodrigue Beaubois and Jason Terry off the bench and this team is scary good.
With Dirk this year the Mavs looked great in the regular season but could only muster two wins in the first round against the seasoned Spurs team. Maybe it is time for a change. Dirk does have an early termination option on his contract, so maybe he restructures for long-term stability in a sign and trade. From the Raptors perspective, is Dirk really the guy to put beside Bargs? Probably not. In this scenario, hopefully we can grab Dirk without a new deal, so that we get a huge $21.5 mil expiring contract at the end of 2011, and much needed flexibilty. Assuming nothing else changes, our starting five would be as follows, Bargs, Dirk, Turk, Sonny, Jose. I'm not sold on this at all. I think Dirk and Andrea are too similar, but they both are certainly quite talented, maybe they figure it out. We would still be atrocious on the defensive end.
San Antonio: Bosh for Tony Parker?...
The Spurs are interesting because of their PG situation. They cannot afford to pay $13 mil to a backup point. The formula for Tim's success could be repeated by bringing in Bosh as a protege under Duncan in his last years. Duncan would have to move to center, where I think he fits nicely. Duncan, Bosh, RJ, Mason, Hill, with Manu off the bench. Not bad. The main question for the Spurs here is how well Bosh and Duncan would mesh. Getting rid of Parker seems inevitable, so if they can return a player like Bosh, that's a no brainer. Working out a trade between the Raps and Spurs would be interesting because the Spurs don't have that many pieces signed on through next season. It might have to include the contract of either Manu or RJ, at which point we could potentially include Turk or Jose. Regardless, for the Raptors, it would mean a drastic restructuring. Not sure I love this for the Raps, falling out of Pop's favor is a bad omen.
LAL: Bosh for Bynum and Vujacic
At this season's trade deadline there were rumblings of a Bynum for Bosh swap. The raps were playing out of their heads at this point, so a trade was not in the cards. If Bosh does bail on the Raps this is one scenario that I happen to like. The Lakers would need to throw in a Sasha Vujacic ($5.5 mil expiring) for the numbers to work, but there is no question this would be an improvement. Bynum has proven to be injury prone over his short career. Gasol would have to move to the center, but I think he is best when playing center next to Lamar. Maybe we could even get them to take on Calderon for Odom?? Probably not, but it's worth mentioning that their PG situation is tied to Fisher (old), Farmar (shit) and Brown (not a starter), I think Jose would fit in perfectly as a facilitator. For the Raptors, with or without Odom this scenario is great. Granted Bynum is injury prone, but when he is playing he is the prototypical center. Bringing him in would move Bargnani to his natural 4 position and give us an anchor on the defensive end. An Odom for Calderon swap would only sweeten the deal.
Chicago: Bosh for Noah, Hinrich, other pieces
This is another scenario that I love and has received attention in the media. I know the Bulls love Noah, and who wouldn't. He works hard, has swagger, and is a perfect center. His teammates love him, fans around the league hate him. D.Rose has said that this gives his team an identity, it inspires them to play hard and compete on the road. The numbers in this trade don't match, that's why I include Hinrich and other pieces. Noah is still on his rookie contract, making a little over $3 mil next season, and the bulls have a lot of cap space coming into this summer. It's hard to say now how a deal would be structured with so many question marks, maybe we could work a third team into the mix here (Pistons, Pacers??). For the bulls I think they can't pass up the opportunity to get a guy like Bosh, even if it means giving away a fan favorite in Noah. On paper they look good and have a lot of flexibility going forward. Rose, Deng, Bosh would be a very nice top three. Re-sign Brad Miller on the cheap, and bring in a two guard and they are set. For the Raps, I don't love Hinrich, we certainly don't need him, but bringing in Noah (much like Bynum, but better) is a perfect fit beside Andrea, who could move to his natural 4 position. Noah is exactly the kind of guy the Raps need, a hard-nosed guy who can rebound with best of them, a banger with swagger.
New York: Bosh for David Lee, Toney Douglas, and change
The Knicks only have $18.6 mil in committed salary for the upcoming season, so this is another scenario where there are a bunch of question marks about how the deal would be structured. If Bosh goes to NY, it will likely be with another stud: Wade or Lebron. I don't see him heading there on his own to chill with Danillo Gallinari. I'm not the biggest David Lee fan, another undersized big. But he boards like a king, and is not injury prone. If Bosh wants to go to NY, David Lee will be coming to TO, maybe along with the expiring Eddy Curry contract ($11 mil). Boarding is an issue the Raps need to address, so if Lee can mesh well with Andrea it might be a good fit.
Cleveland: Bosh for Antawn Jamison, JJ Hickson and change
The King calls, "Yo, CB4 come live in the Cleve and win many championships with me and your boy J.Moon." Lebron is probably the most talented baller in history. If he calls you personally and asks for your services in creating a dynasty, you can't take that lightly. They would be an unbelievable team with Bosh at the 4. Coaches around the league would lose sleep over how to cover them. Throw in a cheap Shaq and Big Z and this team is ready to win big. If this panned out, they could easily afford to lose Jamison, the up and coming Hickson and to make the numbers match they would need to throw in someone else (Telfair, Powe?). The Raps would not fair well with Jamison, and probably look to move him. But again, if the King comes knocking and Bosh is wooed, there is little the Raptors can do.
Miami: Bosh for Beasley, our conditional pick back, other picks, Haslem?, O'Neal?
This scenario is similar to the last. If Wade calls and convinces Bosh to flee to beautiful Miami, there is little the Raptors can hope to get in return. The Heat have only $30.6 mil in committed salary next year, so a deal would have to involve some unsigned pieces (Haslem, O'Neal, Q.Rich, etc.) A Wade, Bosh tandem would be stellar. Sign a center and they have a wicked team. Again this leaves the Raps in a bad spot. No way Beasley becomes the player that Bosh is. He has talent, but not franchise guy talent.
New Jersey: Bosh for Yi, Devin Harris and change
Things are looking up for the Nets. Sure they had a dismal season, but now they have the best shot in the John Wall sweepstakes. A Russian playboy billionaire owner paired with Jay-Z. A Brooklyn arena which has broken ground. Cap space gallore, and a bevy of young talent. If the Nets win the draft lottery, Devin Harris becomes expendable. If Bosh decides Brooklyn is the place for him, Yi will likely be included along with Devin Harris and other pieces to make the numbers work. A team of Bosh, Lopez, Wall, T.Will and Courtney Lee is on the way to becoming really good. Sign a couple more guys with all that cap space and this team is for real.
OKC: Bosh for Collison, Green, Harden, picks
This one is probably my favorite place for Bosh to land. First it wouldn't hurt as bad if he went to the western conference. Second, I fucking love the Thunder. Durant is quickly becoming one of my favorite players. If Bosh joined their squad they would be unstoppable. I'm not sure who would be returning to the Raps in the deal: perhaps a package of Collison, Green, Harden, and their pick. I know they love Green and have been dead set on developing this young core together, but if Bosh wanted in, they would have to consider Green, who plays the 4 for them, expendable. The group flying north to play for Canada's team would not be so great, and certainly would not replace Bosh. But at the end of the day we'll take what we can get.
Being a Raptors fan has been a roller-coaster ride over the past few seasons. I remember sitting in a burger joint in The Venetian in Las Vegas, catching the Marion deal on ESPN, and publicly making a fool of myself. The ride is not over though, in fact we are nearing that big loop-d-loop. This offseason is probably the most crucial in the history of the franchise. Whether Bosh stays or goes is the biggest question mark. If he stays great, but we need to change it up to be competitive. If he goes the situation is not dire. Bosh is as good an asset as any. Where he ends up is on him, we can only hope he's happy to go to several teams so that we can work on extracting the most value. As a Raptors fan I would say I am cautiously optimistic about our prospects for next season. We've got a lot to look forward to, and I am still convinced that BC will do a good job putting together a contender with or without Bosh.
What do you think? Drop a comment with your favorite scenario, a suggestion for a different one, something that you didn't like in here, or whatever's on your mind.