Dallas has to do something. And Nowitzki needs a fresh start. Otherwise, no matter the regular-season record, the questions will start all over next April.
And owner Mark Cuban, who has invested so much of his time, money and personality, also has gone above and beyond when it comes to loyalty to Nowitzki.
It could be as simple as some sort of sign-and-trade with Toronto for Chris Bosh. Such a deal would bring Bosh back home and provide Dallas with a bit more grit in its power rotation. It also would allow Toronto to collect another European to player in a system that caters to the international style.
Failing ultimate success, I also could see the Lakers making a move for Chris Bosh in a sign-and-trade. A package including Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom could just prove tempting enough to the Raptors, and how could Bosh say no to the possibility of playing alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol with the Lakers?
Not sure wh0’s more upset: Raptors fans or Bosh’s agent, who presumably is out of a job and his four percent. Seriously, I like Bosh a lot. He’s a terrific player (who would look just dandy in a Hawks uniform). But posing a question to Twitter followers, “Been wanting to ask. Where should I go next season and why?” seems bizarre. I mean, if 27,000 people from Minnetonka and Bemidji, Minn., Tweet, “You should be a Timberwolve!” is that going to get the deal done? Because I would think money’s kind of an issue. Most creative of the Twitter responses I’ve seen came from a Knicks fan (just guessing), who wrote: “Go to NYC with LeBron, D-Wade, Nash, and Joe Johnson. Have everyone take one year mid level deals and then all re-sign in 2011.”
"What might separate the Rockets from those other teams is that Bosh is their first choice. Everything they hope to accomplish this offseason begins with the acquisition of Bosh.
There’s no, “If LeBron says no, we’ll be in touch,” or “Let us get back to you after we hear from Dwyane Wade.”
Houston makes sense for Bosh. He’d be playing beside one of the top (albeit chronically injured) centres in the game in Yao Ming. Under one of the top coaches in the NBA in Rick Adelman. With players who can use their athleticism to score (Aaron Brooks, Ariza, Budinger) and on a team with glue guys like Battier and (if re-signed) Luis Scola that is one of the top defensive outfits in the league.
But Bosh would still have to agree to go there and I’m not sure it would be his first choice. If I were in his shoes I’d join either LeBron or Wade, the best player in the league or the fourth or fifth-best player, wherever they are.
However, what isn’t being talked about as much is what makes sense for the Toronto Raptors?
First off there is the money factor. If the Raptors keep Bosh they will be over the cap with almost $65 million in contracts to 10 players (if they keep Sonny Weems). They have Amir Johnson, Antoine Wright, and Rasho Nesterovic set to become free agents. They will only have the Mid-Level Exception available to add a free agent for more than the minimum because they used the Bi-Annual Exception last year on Nesterovic.
So depending on how that money is used (they can re-sign Johnson with his Bird Rights), the Raptors are limited with how they can improve a team who missed the playoffs last season. They will have a lottery pick to add to the roster as well.
Last year’s team had plenty of issues. They were outrebounded by 0.9 on a nightly basis and gave up 105.9 points a game, 1.4 more than they scored. Theoretically, an improvement to the rebounding would involve adding a player who also is a decent interior defender, meaning there is a way for the Raptors to improve with minimal changes if they make the right signing.
The problem? Bosh and Andrea Bargnani take the lion’s share of the big man minutes, so it’s possible even if they signed the right player he wouldn’t get enough run to actually make the difference.
If the Raptors let Bosh walk for nothing, they won’t be in too much better of a place. They will be about $8 million under the cap, but a lottery pick will take some of that as will the other cap holds. If they renounce their cap holds they may have enough left to scrounge up more than a MLE offer, but it would be very close. Without Bosh they may be forced to re-sign (or sign and trade) Amir Johnson, and then use the MLE on someone else. Can they get a legitimate big man for that price? Will he help and replace Bosh, as well as improve the team’s rebounding and defense? That’s asking a ton of a MLE player.