Letting go of Chris Bosh


How Bosh has managed to transform the public’s perception of him from “good player tired of losing” to “greedy attention-seeking diva” is truly a thing of beauty. He has handled the 2010 free-agency period about as poorly as one can. Whereas Dwayne Wade and LeBron James have met with other teams without alienating their existing ones, Chris Bosh has done exactly that.

There weren’t many Raptors fans who expected Chris Bosh to stay in Toronto once the season had ended, let alone blame him for leaving. Instead, we blamed Colangelo for using bandaids to fix hemorrhages and bringing us to the point where we’d be losing a highly sought player for nothing. Unlike Vince Carter or Tracy McGrady, and more like Roy Halladay, Chris Bosh would not be seen as a bad guy, and the reasons for his departure would be plainly understood by the fans. Despite what you thought of his strong points or shortcomings as a player, his exit was more or less understood because as he stated so clearly, he cared about nothing but winning and any self-searching Raptors fans can tell you that we’re not close to that. “I want to play in the postseason. I want to advance. I’ve been playing seven years. It’s time to start thinking about stuff like that for me, because I don’t know how many years I have left. I know I’m still a young player, but I remember when I got drafted guys were 25, 26, and now they’re on their last deals,” Bosh had said.

How Bosh has managed to transform the public’s perception of him from “good player tired of losing” to “greedy attention-seeking diva” is truly a thing of beauty. All Raptors fans wanted was a little feigned sadness and respect, instead we got a dose of egotism that changed our perception of him for the worse. He has handled the 2010 free-agency period about as poorly as one can. Whereas Dwayne Wade and LeBron James have met with other teams without alienating their existing ones, Chris Bosh has done exactly that. He’s managed to damage, if not burn the bridge with the Raptors 140 characters at a time for no other reason than to shine the light of attention upon him, and it has completely backfired. At LeBron James’ meeting with the Bulls in Cleveland, Cavs fans thronged the streets holding signs and booing the Bulls’ motorcade. Would anybody in Toronto even bother sending him an email asking him to stay? I think not. Even loyal fans have stopped updating their “Chris Bosh, please stay” website, and you can’t blame them.

Bryan Colangelo hasn’t sounded confident of re-signing Chris Bosh since the season ended, but the recent rumours that he’s inclining towards not even bothering with a sign-and-trade just to teach Bosh a lesson is reason to be concerned. As much as some would like to see Chris Bosh out $30 million, that line of thinking is hardly prudent and bordering on neglect. Amidst all the free-agency mayhem, one thing should not be lost: Bryan Colangelo cost us a decent return on Chris Bosh. An NBA GM must have the foresight of seeing what could transpire in the future, weigh his chances, and act accordingly. Hindsight is definitely 20/20, but fans aren’t being unfair to Colangelo when they state that he should have traded Bosh at the deadline, if not last summer. Instead of basing his decision not to trade him on wins against the NBA’s minnows before the All-Star break, Colangelo should’ve separated water from wine and done the right thing – traded Chris Bosh. Anyway, this post isn’t written to whine about that, so I digress.

As stated yesterday, there are reasons why a sign-and-trade with a trade exception as return isn’t the greatest option, but it is one that has more merits than disadvantages. The same is true for receiving whatever Miami will throw at us. Michael Beasley isn’t a model citizen or a player, but he is a second overall pick who has shown more than what our first overall selection has, and to think that he can’t help this team (on the court or in another transaction) is not seeing the forest for the marijuana trees. Writing off Beasley after two years but sticking with Bargnani after four doesn’t compute (year 1 comparison, year 2 comparison). Same goes for Mario Chalmers, obviously the two aren’t “fair” return value for Bosh, but at this point you swallow your pride, take the deal, and build on it or parlay it into something else. Or do you call the bluff?

It’s unlikely that Bosh’s attention-starved ways have cost him a maximum contract on the open market with a team who has the cap space but not the route to acquire James or Wade. However, Bosh will be, at the very least, reluctant to leave $30 million on the table, after all, he’s showing that he’s a business man first and a basketball player second. If Colangelo refuses to partake in sign-and-trade deals, you could see the Raptors become Bosh’s only option, and as interest in him dies down, it’s possible that he’ll come crawling back to the Raptors. In this case, what do the Raptors do? If this does happen, it’s clear that the only reason he’s considering Toronto is because of the money and nothing else. Do we want a player like that, especially given his track record when it comes to winning and being the focal point of a team?

If Bosh truly, in his heart of hearts cared about winning, he’s recognize the plain truth – he’s in a lower tier that of Wade and James, and take less money to sign with the Heat and bring fruition to Team Trinity. But that’s not happening and it speaks to his priorities.

The other issue of confusion these days is what to think of Chris Bosh’s service in a Raptors uniform. Overall, it’s to be appreciated and met with applause, he played relatively hard throughout his career, didn’t complain, brought the points and rebounds, and accepted the role of the franchise player which was shoved upon him only because there was no one better. After Vince Carter left, the franchise was desperate to replace him for fear of losing the momentum Carter had brought to the city, and Bosh was presented as the man leading the charge. It wasn’t fair to ask that of him and when he didn’t deliver instant glory, people started questioning his superstar status, when he didn’t even claim to be one. As the saying goes, some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness, rather unsuccessfully, thrust upon them. The latter applies to Bosh. Good player, good competitor, not a good leader and hence, a longshot to be a franchise player.

The debate of whether the GM did enough to surround him with talent, or whether he failed to lead the team, can go on for months without anything fruitful coming from it, our time is better served looking to the future than dwelling on the past. And Chris Bosh is now part of the past. Just like Mitch Richmond in Sacramento, Ray Allen in Milwaukee, Tracy McGrady in Orlando, Grant Hill in Detroit, Kevin Garnett in Minnesota, and the many failed instances of a single second-tier star trying to lead a team to glory, this era has ended.

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