Late yesterday afternoon ESPN’s Chad Ford, who was in Chicago for the pre-draft workouts, filed a piece saying he had uncovered Bosh’s supposed list of trade partners he would agree to if the Raps and he part ways this summer. The list was supposedly provided by Bosh’s agent, Henry Thomas, and given to Raps GM Bryan Colangelo.
On that supposed list were five teams Bosh would consider playing for next season. They included the Raptors, the Chicago Bulls, the Los Angeles Lakers, the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat.
Turns out there is a list that Colangelo has, but it didn’t come from Thomas.
Last night, Thomas revealed he has never submitted a list to Colangelo like the one Ford described and never would.
“Why would I do that?” Thomas said to the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman. “We’re still in a process of evaluating a lot different situations.”
According to Thomas, the whole Bosh scenario remains very much an on-going process and to limit himself to any number of teams would be counter productive.
“I haven’t closed the door on anything,” Thomas insisted. “I haven’t given Bryan any lists. There is no list. This is a process that is ongoing.”
There were other reports last night, though, of the existence of a longer list that is in the Raptors’ possession that lists trade partners that are acceptable to Bosh. The list is reportedly longer than the five names in the ESPN story.
Though Henry Thomas, the agent for Chris Bosh denied an ESPN report Friday that Bosh had given the Raptors a list of five teams he would play for next season, those five, along with Houston and possibly New Jersey, have to be considered the favourites.
Here’s a look, in alphabetical order, of why Bosh might consider them, as well as what the Raptors could conceivably expect back. A sign-and-trade is likely because it gives Bosh $30 million US more than any other team can offer.
Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo admits there are a group of teams that Bosh would like to go to should he decide to leave the Raptors as a free agent in July.
ESPN.com reported Bosh’s agent, Henry Thomas, has told Colangelo that Bosh would like to go to the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat or New York Knicks should he decide not to re-sign with Toronto.
“It has been narrowed down to a handful of teams, including us,” Colangelo said, not going into any more details.
That Bosh has narrowed a list to a group of teams — even if that list includes the Raptors — should hardly be surprising. Bosh has steadfastly said one of his top priorities is to play for a winner and the Lakers are definite championship contenders, the Bulls and Heat are both playoff teams while the Knicks haven’t been in the post-season in half a decade.
It was also reported that Bosh’s ultimate destination might hinge on that of fellow free agent LeBron James, suggesting if James does leave Cleveland, Bosh and James might sign together in New York or Chicago; if James stays in Cleveland there is speculation he might team with fellow Olympic teammate Dwyane Wade in Miami.
Of the teams listed the Lakers might have the assets most attractive to Toronto: Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol would both be natural fits alongside Andrea Bargnani in the frontcourt, but with the Lakers surging toward a second consecutive title breaking up their team seems increasingly unlikely.
Also interesting was the teams not on the list: According sources Bosh does not want to play in his home state of Texas, leaving the Houston Rockets – reported as determined suitors for the power forward – on the outside looking in, along with San Antonio and his hometown Dallas Mavericks.
According to league sources with knowledge of the situation, that list also included the New Jersey Nets, who have some quality pieces and a new owner, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. New Jersey is also set to move to Brooklyn as soon as 2012, where Prokhorov seems determined to turn the Nets into one of the league’s glamour franchises.
The list was composed and delivered before New Jersey fell to No. 3 in the lottery, however, and missed out on projected No. 1 pick John Wall of Kentucky.
And before anybody gets overheated, none of this is carved in stone, just yet. The competitive landscape of the NBA has never have been this uncertain, this fluid. In Ohio, LeBron and his coterie of advisors are deciding where he will sign, and the two-time MVP’s decision looms over the landscape like a skyscraper on the prairie.
What does the list reveal? Bosh clearly wants to play in a big city, though not too near his hometown of Dallas. He would like to win, though if he goes to the New York Knicks with any less of a running mate than James or Wade, that prospect dims considerably.
As for the sign-and-trade options — well, Chicago won’t give up rugged centre Joakim Noah, though he would be the first thing the Raptors would ask for. New York’s David Lee might be available, though the Raptors would immediately have the most defensively porous frontcourt in NBA history. Miami’s troubled Michael Beasley isn’t terribly appealing; the Nets aren’t quite overflowing with talent.
The deciding factor could end up being something else entirely. LeBron James. ESPN’s sources indicate that Bosh is likely to sign with Chicago if James chooses the Windy City. In that eventuality, a quick sign and trade netting Luol Deng and his death scourge contract and Kirk Hinrich would probably be worked out. It would also pretty much make for the most dominant Eastern team with a starting five of Derrick Rose-Some Person-Who-Cares-LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Joakim Noah. Run, children. Vaminos.
This list isn’t shocking by any means, but it is a significant development. It means that leaving is formally on Bosh’s mind, and he’s pursuing an exit strategy, even if giving the Raptors hope by including them on the list. It means the Lakers are in play, which somehow makes the team headed to the Finals even scarier than they already are. And it means that LeBron does have the power to shift momentum.
The Heat are going to have to figure out a strategy for convincing Bosh to forgo that final year if they want to lure Bosh in. New York may want to start considering Plan B.
If LeBron comes to Chicago, then Bosh might as well. Think about that. A starting five of Derrick Rose, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Joakim Noah and who the hell cares who the fifth starter is.
Pretend it’s me.
Do you care? No, we’d still win 60 games and you’d develop an appreciation for my grit and hustle, and be awed by my 11-inch vertical.
Now, there are some complications to this. I do believe that if LeBron were to end up a Bull, he’d likely get here via a sign-and-trade. That way he can get the same amount of money he’d get staying in Cleveland, and the Cavs would get something in return.
That way LeBron doesn’t feel like a complete asshole for destroying the city of Cleveland. I’m not saying he would be an asshole for leaving — he’d be a dumbass to stay — but he may feel that way.
The point is, if he did get here via a trade, then I’m not sure what the Bulls would have left to send to Toronto to get Bosh. Though it could be possible that they’d still have cap room to just sign Bosh depending on what they sent to Cleveland.
In terms of potential sign-and-trade chips, each team on his list has at least one player the Raptors might want. Chicago has Luol Deng, though he’s a bit overpaid. The Knicks have David Lee, who would be a nice consolation prize if Bosh decides not to re-sign with Toronto. The Heat have Michael Beasley, but his stock continues to fall. And the Lakers have Andrew Bynum, but with his knee injuries, he’s not as enticing of a prospect as he was at the start of the season.
But here’s what gets me about this story, if it’s accurate — Bosh may want that extra year on his deal, but it’s going to be tough for a team that already has the cap space to sign him to have to take a big hit in young talent and draft picks as well. In fact, this strategy reveals that Bosh is more concerned with the size of his own paycheck than he is with the strength and potential of his new team. I realize it’s a lot of money, but when a player says over and over that it’s “all about winning” and then turns around and forces his new team to give up a couple of prospects and/or draft picks so that he can pocket an extra $30 million (and an extra year on the deal), then clearly he’s being disingenuous.
However, Bosh gave the Raptors the list so they could start plotting sign-and-trade scenarios that would allow Bosh to get the maximum length on a free-agent contract — six years instead of five.
That also could give the Knicks an edge over the Bulls because the Knicks have more cap space and more flexibility in a sign-and-trade. It is also known the Raptors have interest in Knicks free agent David Lee in a potential Bosh sign-and-trade, though Lee would have to agree to play in Canada, which is not a given.
That leaves two options: The Lakers and the Knicks. There were rumours during the season that a straight up trade of Bosh for Bynum was in the works. This plain and simple does not make sense for the Lakers. The Lakers already have a Bosh essentially with Pau Gasol. Bosh does not provide the inside presence that Bynum gives, and although Bosh’s offence is very good you cannot have 3 guys who need the ball in their hands a lot. The Raptors could defenitely use Bynum, but at a young age Bynum has already had some injury issues which I think spells trouble for a big man making him not a very good option even for the Toronto “no defence” Raptors.
Now that just gives Bosh one spot to go and that’s the lowly New York Knicks. The sign and trade possibility of David Lee for Chris Bosh is not ideal for the Raptors but is not out of the question. Although David Lee is only 6″9 he would serve as a good replacement for Chris Bosh as he is a legit 20 and 10 guy despite what some people may lead you to believe. With Chris Bosh moving to New York he would finally get the national exposure that he was never received playing in Canada. This possibility becomes even greater if Lebron James does indeed decide to sign with the Knicks, as they have spent the last 2 years basically tanking for a shot at Lebron James and another max contract (Wade or Bosh). I believe that they only have two players under contract right now with Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler.
I am sorry but I still don’t think that the Raps being 5th on the list is true. I think the Raps still have a good chance at keeping Bosh. Let me say this…at the all-star break the Raps were in 5th seed and looking very good. Looking like they would put up a strong fight against anyone they got in the first round. After the all-star break is when the wheels fell off, but if the Raps had made the first round and put up a good fight, the chances of Bosh staying were quite high. But that changed when the Raps fell apart and ended up in 9th. Bosh now is looking to play for a winner.
So there is 4 reason why Bosh might stay with the Raps…
1) More money staying with the Raps if the Raps decided against any of these potential S&T.
2) Little known fact – Most players like Toronto. That includes CB4. Sure the warm weather would be nice, but don’t think that players itch to get out of the city because 100% that’s not true.
3) Bosh wants to be the main guy. First, forget this whole “Bosh is not a main guy” thing, thats not the point here. Bosh has said this a few times that he likes being the man, and everything I know about the guy tells me that this is true. Maybe he has had a change of mind recently. But unless he has, I know that being the main guy is important to him. He won’t get that playing with Lebron, Wade or Kobe.
4) He said that for him to stay with the Raps, the team needs to get more help and preferably an all-star level guard who can create his own shots. THIS is the key to keeping Bosh. If Colangelo can’t work something out, I think Bosh is gone. But let me put a name out there. Andre Iguodala. This is someone I think the Raps COULD get, and the addition of AI does make this Raps team, with Bosh, a heck of a lot better.
Hedo not happy in Toronto
it seems to me that Bosh hasn’t shut out Toronto yet despite many rumors. It’s easy to understand why, Bosh has always like the city, Toronto can pay the most money and he will be the #1 guy here, where he probably won’t be elsewhere. Maybe he is waiting for Colangelo to do something to convince him to stay. At least, that’s how I read it.
If Bosh does leave, what does it mean in terms of a sign and trade?
Looking at the list of teams given, here is what I think the Raptors will try to get in a sign and trade: