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The good folks at Dime Magazine reached out to us about Chris Bosh and The Summer of 2010. They have some interesting thoughts on why Bosh would be wise to leave Toronto, but they don’t know what he means to Toronto (and what Toronto means to him). Changing digs doesn’t always equal a championship, and the devil you know, sometimes is better than the devil you don’t.

The media frenzy surrounding his pending free agency has been ridiculous. The only questions I seem to be fielding about this team are about what he will do in the summer and whether or not he’s a max player. Just so it’s on the record, up until recently I was 100% sure he would be a Raptor come training camp, and still believe he is worthy of a max contract. However, the teams recent (horrible) performance and Bosh’s body language seem to indicate otherwise, or at create the perception that he’s dogging it.

The fact of the matter is that Chris Bosh is a man that is bound by the same rules as the rest of us: he wants an important role in a great company for great pay. The fact that he has other business interests at such a young age speaks volumes about the ambition he has, and the value he holds for any organization: he’s attempting to maximize every facet of his life to carve out his own piece of the pie.

What can we really read into this though? Sure he seemingly isn’t battling as hard as earlier in the season (I’m not so sure he’s checked out), but things are quite different than a few months ago and you can’t eliminate the human condition from the equation. You get worn down enough by what’s going on around you, and it will take its toll. It also doesn’t help that Toronto is a big media market, second only to New York/Los Angeles/Chicago. If you didn’t know, the spotlight here gets mighty hot.

During Bosh’s tenure with the Raptors, the only constant has been poor leadership and losing. So with the team desperate for a #2 to help take some of the burden off of Bosh, we saw two very big moves that brought in the wrong player over the last two seasons.

Last year saw Colangelo take a huge gamble on Jermaine O’Neal and lose; costing the Raptors players and two-1st rounder’s to trade for him, then ultimately unload him.

This season kicked off with a massive overhaul of the roster: 9 new players and Triano losing the interim tag as the coach. Hedo Turkoglu was signed as the clutch, playmaking forward the Raptors were sorely missing since Vince Carter. And Bargnani was expected to continue his realization as a legit NBA talent under Triano’s stewardship.

…we all know how that worked out. The team started 7-13 while trying to make the pieces fit; they took advantage of a weaker schedule going 22-10; and are currently watching it all get flushed down the drain as they have been struggling through injuries and motivation, going 6-14 since the All-Star break. Talk about an unstable work environment.

Both times, Colangelo had the right idea, but executed poorly in actually going out and getting the best fit for the team. Both times saw Bosh support the decision, because the intention of the move was right. Each times, we’ve seen it fall apart, leaving Bosh and whoever happens to be on the team, wondering where it all went wrong.

Bosh has always maintained that being the man on a championship team is his goal, but what about the city he lives in? Heading into training camp, he declared his love for Toronto, going so far as to say that he considers the Tdot home, and glad that he’s back after spending the summer in Texas. He is an established social figure here, and it is going to be difficult to recreate his brand in another city; where he’ll no doubt be less adored than the city who watched him grow and mature.

What if he actually leaves (or gets traded) though, then what? I think everyone can agree that Toronto wont be getting equal value back in a trade. Think about it: you’re giving up a 26 year old perennial All-Star who is only getting better, AND who makes about $16mil this year. You have to engineer a trade that nets you young talent and picks while making sure salaries match. In the event that he up and leaves, and his salary comes off the payroll, the Raptors will only have about $7mil to try and replace him. Bargnani has already proven that he can’t step up and be the man in Bosh’s absence, and you can’t even sign David Lee to a $7mil starting contract.

Either way, the core of the team will look like: Calderon, Turkoglu, Bargnani and whoever replaces Bosh. Excuse me if that doesn’t get me excited about the future of this franchise. Winning in the NBA requires teams to keep their stars and build around them with the right pieces at the right cost. The Lakers, Celtics, Magic, Cleveland and Miami are all proof of this. They drafted their star, and brought in the right pieces to compliment him.

I’m not sure I want to support a team that chases another one of it’s stars out of town while he gets vilified by the same people who showered him with praise and affection while he led this team. I’m pretty sure I wont have to make that decision though since Chris Bosh is the Toronto Raptors, everything that can be done to keep him here will be.

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