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Plan B(osh)

In 2000, the Toronto Raptors were the NBA’s up and coming team led by Vince Carter and his cousin Tracy McGrady. People were expecting big things from this dynamic duo, even paying them the ultimate compliment of comparing them to the legendary duo of Jordan and Pippen. Unfortunately for Raptors fans, McGrady spurned Toronto choosing to sign a long term contract with the Orlando Magic and play Pippen to Grant Hill’s Jordan.

Like McGrady during his final season with the Raptors, Chris Bosh has remained mum on his plans for the future. While it is certainly his right to take a wait and see approach, the Raptors simply can’t afford to wait. The idea of trading a 24 year old Power Forward who is seventh in the association in scoring seems crazy, but letting him go for nothing next summer is even crazier.

Bryan Colangelo’s first option is obviously to convince Bosh to sign a long term extension and he is certainly kicking all tires to try and improve the Raptors. However, his Jermaine O’Neal acquisition has not worked out and worse yet it has left the Raptors with very few trading blocks to try and land the swing player they desperately need. The Raptors could move Andrea Bargnani, but he has been playing very well of late and Colangelo is hesitant to move his number one pick who looks to be on the verge of being a consistent force in the NBA. They also have the expiring contract of Anthony Parker, who has been a solid player for the Raptors but simply isn’t the main swing on a quality team. Bargnani and Parker have been rumoured to be the core of a deal with Dallas for Josh Howard, but both sides have denied the speculation. The best case scenario would be moving the oft injured O’Neal and his 22 million dollar contract, which thankfully will expire before the summer of 2010. The Miami Heat are looking for a big man – O’Neal, Marcus Camby and Brad Miller have all been mentioned – and are shopping Shawn Marion, who is averaging career lows and has made it known that he desperately wants out of Miami. If O’Neal can get back in the line-up for an extended period this could be a possibility, but I know wouldn’t trade for JO.

Therefore, it will probably take Colangelo through 2010 to surround Bosh with the talent to make the Raptors a serious contender in the East and that means that Colangelo’s second and more realistic option is to propose an ultimatum to Bosh: either he is willing to sign the max extension or Colangelo should begin to explore trade options. Colgangelo should explain to Bosh that management and ownership are committed to building a championship around him, but need more time to put all the right pieces in place and hope to high heaven that he signs the extension. (It certainly would go a long way to convincing Bosh of ownership’s commitment if Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment kicked their allergic reaction to the luxury tax)

While it is a general rule in sports not trade within your division, when exploring trading partners the New York Knicks make the most sense. First, New York is likely one of Chris Bosh’s preferred destinations when he becomes a free agent. Second, the Knicks are trying to clear enough cap room to sign both LeBron James and another of the big 2010 stars, most likely Bosh. Therefore, trading for Bosh would guarantee getting Bosh in blue and orange and it would help convince LeBron to make Madison Square Garden his forwarding address. Third, I believe they have the pieces – expiring contracts and lottery picks – to get the deal done. If I were Colangelo I’d call Donnie Walsh and offer him Bosh and O’Neal for David Lee, Stephon Marbury, Danilo Gallinari, Al Harrington (or Eddy Curry) and their 2009 and 2010 1st Round Picks.

To the Knicks:
Chris Bosh 2 year for 14,410,000
Jermaine O’Neal 2 years for 21,372,000

To the Raptors
David Lee 1 year for 1,788,033
Stephon Marbury 1 year for 20,843,625
Danilo Gallinari 2 years for 2,873,520
Al Harrington 1 year for 9,226,250

This might be a little over the top and I’d be willing to drop either Gallinari or the 2010 1st Rounder and change Harrington for Curry. Lee will give the Raptors a young quality Power Forward and Harrington and Marbury will give the Raptors cap space in 2009 where the free agent list includes Carlos Boozer, Lamar Odem, Shawn Marion, Hedo Turkoglu, Andre Miller and Mehmet Okur. (If the trade included Curry instead of Harrington the Raptors would get cap space in 2010). The trade would also give the Raptors two lottery picks in 2009 and either Gallinari or another 1st round pick to add to their core.

I hope that Chris Bosh chooses to remain a Raptor; he is one of my favourite players and I really enjoy watching him go after it each and every night. I’m confident that given time Colangelo will be able to build the talent around Bosh to make the Raptors a force. However, if Chris Bosh isn’t willing to make a commitment this year I don’t think the Raptors can’t afford to wait. If Bosh chooses to pull a Tracy McGrady and spurn Toronto for another franchise the Raptors will be in shambles and relegated to the NBA Lottery for the next three to five years. The time is now for an ultimatum, for a decision, for a plan for the future.

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One Response to “Plan B(osh)”

  1. wes mantooth Says:

    thats a great article. i fully agree with you. i want bosh to sign too, but if hes gonna let us think we might lose him we might as well get some great pieces and try to build around bargs and calderone.. as much as i love bosh i have to admit that it would be exciting to have a new very young look next year.the ny trade would defintly do that..

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