Morning Coffee

Toronto Raptors Morning Coffee July 1

Early Thursday, a Twitter post from Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said: “Just finished meeting with @chrisbosh – great player & person. He is about winning so I focused on how w/Houston he can win a championship.”

Toronto Sun

The contract of O’Neal was turned into Shawn Marion by trade, who was turned into Turkoglu, who has turned into an overpaid malcontent taking up too much financial space on a team in need of some assistance. And if that’s not troubling enough, trying to make sense of the NBA salary cap with all its nuances has been historically challenging for anything that would seemingly enhance the Raptors fortunes in Toronto.

This is what is bothersome about the NBA salary cap. The Raptors have the money to re-sign Bosh (even though he won’t stay here). But under the cap, they don’t have the money to sign his replacement.

Cap horror

How can you afford one and not the other?

Because the cap says so. And how either side, players or management, agreed to situations like this that benefit neither, is as mind-boggling as is much of the cap language.

Either way, the Raptors could not have approached this needy time of grand opportunity in worse condition.

Some of the best and worst managed teams in the NBA are waiting for the buzzer to go off to signal the opening of the free-agent season. This is hunting season, but the Raptors don’t have a license.

Toronto Sun

ESPN/Miami Herald scribe Dan Le Batard got the ball rolling by tweeting early Wednesday: “I hear bosh-miami is done .. bosh-wade shared agent avoids tampering…its why beasley, chalmers, anthony still here…raptors get them.”

Predictably, even though such an agreement would be highly illegal, the report became accepted as fact by many outlets.

After Raptor and Heat officials denied it, Le Batard admitted on air that it was more an idea he had been hearing than anything definitive.

Regardless, Bosh to Miami still seems the most likely outcome, though the Raptors have never been high on the mercurial Beasley.

Miami owns Toronto’s next non-lottery first-round pick and could offer that, a large trade exception and other pieces or picks for Bosh.

That would allow Bosh to collect an extra $30 million over the life of his new contract as opposed to signing with Miami outright.

Toronto Sun

The Miami Heat seems to be on the verge of adding Bosh to play alongside superstar Dwyane Wade. How did the Heat acquire the cap space necessary to add Bosh and others to Wade? Easy, Pat Riley took on Jermaine O’Neal’s monster deal from the Raptors (along with a future Toronto first-round pick), knowing it expired just in time to take a run at Bosh, in exchange for Shawn Marion, who came off the books a year earlier.

Marion, of course, became the Hedo Turkoglu albatross.

This is all on Colangelo, but save some sympathy for the guy, because with a little luck, things never would have come to this.

How so? Well, at one point, Colangelo was on the right track with a sound plan.

He had the pieces to turn the Raptors into a team that had a chance to annually win a round or two of the playoffs (not ideal, obviously, but a massive step up for this perennially sad-sack organization).

The NBA has become a league where the successful teams either have a lightning quick point guard capable of breaking down defences for easy scores or kickouts to open shooters and/or a swingman capable of putting up 20-30 points a night.

Colangelo and the Raptors could have had both. T.J. Ford was becoming that type of PG (though he wasn’t all the way there, he and the team were really rolling), that is, until, Al Horford crushed Ford and turned him into an ineffective backup. Colangelo hasn’t been able to recover from losing Ford, the engine of the offence he was trying to build.

And then there’s John Salmons, who evolved into the type of deadly scorer good teams need. Colangelo was ahead of the curve on Salmons, signing him to a very reasonable deal before he became a star. Salmons would have solved the scoring problem and given Chris Bosh a much-needed boost.

Toronto Star

“Free agency has to come as almost a second option because I need to get the Bosh situation resolved,” Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo said earlier this week.

However, Colangelo is savvy enough to have done his work checking contracts and the potential availability of players on teams Bosh might want to go.

As well, the general manager said he has “targets” he’d like to pursue with the so-called “mid-level” salary cap exception but because of the Bosh issue, he can’t present a clearly defined list.

However, the team does have needs in the frontcourt – even with draft pick Ed Davis there isn’t much depth there – and there may be a need for a small forward depending on what happens with Hedo Turkoglu.

But when Bosh goes, there are sources in the Raptors organization who can see the disgruntled Turkoglu coming back in an enhanced role that won’t be impacted by an offence that sometimes went stagnant when Bosh was its focal point.

The thinking is, if Bosh and his proclivity for holding the ball are out of the mix, Turkoglu could thrive with expanded responsibilities.

Toronto Star

But as he cares for his son, the point comes across loud and clear from Jose Calderon:Toronto is like a second home and regardless of what happens with the rest of the Raptors, he can’t wait to get back.

“I’ve been there five years, I love that team and want to get back to the playoffs and win games, that’s all that matters,” Calderon said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

“I feel good about the team and the city and winning games. That’s all I care about. I have a house in Toronto, friends there; if I leave it’s going to be very hard.”

Globe and Mail

Market players recommend buying a stock when it bottoms out. If so, Rogers Sportsnet/The FAN 590 are getting the Toronto Raptors at just the right time. The No. 2 TV sports network in ratings (but not profits) is set to announce that it and its sister radio station will be the combined broadcast homes for the Raptors starting this fall. With its four regional channels jammed with NHL content, the plan is to put all the Raptors upcoming losses… er, games on Sportsnet’s new Xtra channel – which is set to debut shortly.

Expect play-by-play guy Matt Devlin to remain the lead dog on the TV game broadcasts. For the FAN, it will be the continuation of the relationship its has had as radio host station of the club the past few seasons. Eric Smith (who was whacked along with Armstrong in the recent purge) and Paul Jones will continue as the radio team.

Globe and Mail

Chances are the Raptors will try to get some players in return, if only to try to stay above the salary cap. A sign-and-trade involving Bosh would leave Toronto about $8-million under the salary cap while holding a trade exception worth about $16.5-million, which would allow the Raptors to absorb players with salaries totalling that amount.

But Raptors president Bryan Colangelo said last week that his preference was to stay above the salary cap, which would enable Toronto to attract players with the mid-level exception, a provision available only to teams above the salary cap. The cap was $57.7-million in 2009-10 but won’t be known for next season until later this month.

It’s expected the Raptors would be looking for a mix of players, draft picks and a trade exception to maximize their opportunities to replace Bosh, their leading scorer and rebounder and a six-time all-star.

National Post

Chris Bosh, power forward, Toronto
Pros Perhaps the game’s most versatile power forward, Bosh can score inside and out. He finished sixth in the league in rebounding last year. During 2008 Olympics, he showed ability to thrive with superstar teammates.
Cons He has never won a playoff series, and has missed at least 12 games in four of his last five seasons.
Top contenders Chicago, Miami, Houston

Toronto Star Photo Blog

I hope that no matter where Chris Bosh goes (hopefully he stays) that we can treat him a little differently that we do Vince.

I hope that when he returns we can give him the same kind of welcome that Mo Pete and Matt Bonner get.

Bosh’s foundation has do great work with kids in the city and he was a lot of fun to watch.

As a photographer, I loved him, Bosh was one of those players that had a great playing face.

Every picture seemed good with Chris in it, he was expressive and reactive.

A picture taken at the right time of Chris might have been all you needed to tell the story of the game.

I’ll miss Chris and I won’t boo when he comes back to visit.

The Game

Sean and John are joined by Bruce Arthur, of the National Post. The talk about the impending NBA Free Agency frenzy, Chris Bosh leaving Toronto and what he meant to the Raptors.

The Scores Report

If he’s going to mess around with a sign-and-trade, his new team is going to have to give up something, and there’s no way around it — it’s going to hurt the team. Whether the Knicks trade David Lee, the Nets trade Derrick Favors, the Bulls trade Luol Deng or the Heat trade Michael Beasley, along with a draft pick or two, his new team will be a little worse off than it would have been if he had signed with the team outright.

In other words, if he forces a sign-and-trade, then winning is most definitely not his “only priority.” One of his priorities might be winning, but the top priority would be the extra cash and the extra year that only the Raptors can offer.

In fact, ‘winning’ and being ‘the man’ don’t fit together in this situation. How is a team that is built around Bosh better than a team (with Bosh) that is built around a better player, like LeBron? Wouldn’t a combination of LeBron/Wade/Bosh in Miami have a better shot to win more titles than a Knicks team built around Bosh?

Houston Chronicle

The Rockets’ courtship of Chris Bosh has begun.

Early Thursday, a Twitter post from Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said: "Just finished meeting with @chrisbosh – great player & person. He is about winning so I focused on how w/Houston he can win a championship."

The Miami Heat appeared to be in position to reach a rapid agreement to sign Bosh, the Rockets’ primary target, with a sign-and-trade deal with the Toronto Raptors. However, the 6-10 forward indicated Wednesday through third-party intermediaries he "definitely" would consider the Rockets and specifically cited an interest in playing with Yao Ming and the chance to play on "a world stage," a person with knowledge of Bosh’s planning said.

With Bosh’s input, the Raptors have worked out the framework of sign-and-trade agreements with several teams, including the Rockets, the individual said, but have not been told to complete any deal.

"I’m happy we had the chance to meet with Chris to put our best foot forward and he could learn about the Rockets," said Morey, who met with Bosh in Dallas. "It’s an important time for both teams and free agents. I’m glad he has the chance to consider what we have to offer. We think with Chris we can win a championship in Houston."

One of Morey’s arguments for the Rockets is that their deep roster will offer Bosh a better chance to win than a Miami or New York Knicks roster gutted to create the salary-cap room needed to sign free agents.


"We put our best foot forward," Morey said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. "We just want him to make the best decision for him and hopefully, it’s Houston."

New York, Miami and Chicago are considered frontrunners to land Bosh, because they already have enough salary cap space cleared to offer a maximum contract. The Rockets would have to give up several assets in a sign-and-trade deal with Bosh’s current team, Toronto, to make him a comparable offer and Morey said he’s willing to take that risk.

"We think we’re a deep team," Morey said, "and we think we can give up some good pieces and still be a great team."

Bosh put up career-highs of 24.0 points, 10.8 rebounds and 52 percent shooting last season. But he’s never won a playoff series, and Morey said that he tried to sell Bosh on Houston’s championship potential.

Houston went 42-40 without Yao last season.

"We feel like we’d be an elite team in the West [with Bosh], as good as anyone," Morey said. "We’re a team ready to win. The core of players we had won more games than any team without a superstar, and now we’re going to add Yao Ming. Adding Chris Bosh with Yao, I think we could be a 60-win team."

Bosh is all but out of Toronto and the Raptors are already seeking a sign-and-trade partner for the All-Star power forward, looking to get two good, young players and a draft pick in return.

If he’s dealt to the Heat, Toronto would reportedly ask for forward Michael Beasley, guard Mario Chalmers and a draft pick.

If he’s dealt to the Bulls, Toronto would want forward Taj Gibson and center Joachim Noah in exchange.

Bosh’s first choice is believed to be the two-time NBA Champion Lakers, but it’s hard to imagine the team fitting him in or being able to make a deal to acquire him.

Toronto Sun

Under no circumstance should the Raptors ever contemplate any scenario that does not help their cause, even if means losing Bosh for nothing.

If people want to point to Toronto’s history of losing marquee names for virtually nothing, then so be it.

If fans bring up the memory of Tracy McGrady bolting T.O. for nothing in free agency or decided to reflect on that Vince Carter trade that yielded virtually nothing, so what. It means nothing.

This is a business and the Raptors have to take care of their own business and not worry about placating Bosh and getting him a max contract.

This day should not come as a surprise to anyone, a day the Raptors knew would arrive with the risk of losing Bosh for nothing.

When the team decided not to trade Bosh last summer, they knew what path they had forged, a road that had the potential of reaching a dead end point.

You take your chances, roll the dice and you prepare to live with the consequences, good or bad.

Opposing Views

Widely regarded as a lock for the first round, Nigerian center Alabi went free-falling before finally being picked at No.50 (the reasons appear to be red flags related to his health conditions, namely Hepatitis B red flags). Eventually, he was traded to the Raptors, and while Alabi may be disappointed not to be a 1st rounder, he finds a suitable situation in Toronto, where fellow country-man Masai Ujiri also works as an assistant GM. Aside from that, the Raptors currently lack a true center and desperately need some interior defense, and though Alabi is still a project offensively, the 7′1″ shotblocker could be an intimidating presence in the paint from day one, as well as a potential steal of this draft.


Understandably, Colangelo felt he needed to make a big move to prove to Bosh that not only could be deliver All-Star caliber talent to Toronto, but that the organization was willing to absorb major contracts to do it. The Raptors were now only two seasons away from Bosh becoming a free agent, and they were coming off a season of regression – so something meaningful needed to be done. The problem was that O’Neal was a shell of his former All-Star self, with battered knees having brought his career to the brink of irrelevance. Even if O’Neal was ostensibly representing the best deal Colangelo could muster with the assets he had available, he didn’t help to pull the Raptors out of the tailspin they seemed to be engulfed in. O’Neal wound up being too desperate an option in the end, some would argue a shortsighted one at that, and when Colangelo traded him to Miami seven months later, those same critics felt validated in their derision of the acquisition.

When highly touted high school recruit Ed Davis entered UNC in 2008, he was the Tar Heels’ sixth man for most of the national championship season.

Now entering his rookie season in the NBA, Davis may be a go-to player.

The Toronto Raptors selected the former UNC power forward with the 13th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft on June 24. And with the recent shake-up north of the border, it may be baptism under fire for Davis and his professional career.

The Picket Fence

First of all, if I’m Colangelo, I’d forbid Bosh from teaming up with both LeBron and Wade. They could only do that in Miami, so Colangelo would simply have to refuse to take back Beasley and Chalmers. Without Colangelo taking back those players, Miami doesn’t have enough to sign all three. Problem solved.

Of course, simply preventing a dynasty in his own conference might not be enough for Colangelo. He might actually want something of value back for Bosh. Something more than a simple trade exception. Could Colangelo give Bosh a list of teams HE would approve of, and what he would expect back were Bosh to agree to a sign-and-trade to them?

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