“I don’t get it, what did we end up with?”
“Limp noodle (Andrea Bargnani), is he still on the team?”
My girl said that to me as I sunk into my seat while TSN played the Bosh presser. I seriously don’t know where to begin, except to say that there is no hard feelings towards Bosh from this corner of the internet (Arse excluded). All my anger and disgust are squarely aimed at the brass for failing this city so miserably, yet again.
Some bad PR aside, Bosh stayed true to the tenets he had maintained since his exit interview:
- Be a core piece of a championship calibre team (think Pau Gasol)
- Max contract (the Florida tax situation puts him damn close without breaking out a calculator)
- That he will resign with the Raptors IF he feels they are doing everything possible to put a quality team around him
We can do nothing but speculate about what was said between Colangelo and Bosh’s camp up until yesterday, but one thing was clear: there was not enough communication between the two groups. For that, the blame gets spread around evenly. However, you can’t take a couple tweets about the excitement of getting courted from a 26 year old guy to heart, that’s all I’m saying. While I fully believe that Colangelo was working like a mad man to get Bosh to resign, clearly not enough was done to appease him. For starters, perhaps he could’ve made the trip to Texas last week instead of sending his assistants.
By signing outright (for now, Colangelo can still negotiate a max S&T) with the Heat, Bosh has put winning a championship above everything else. For that, we should ALL have nothing but respect for the guy. Sure, the Heat only have Wade, Beasley and Chalmers under contract; they will have a tough time filling out the roster with enough talent to be a championship contender next season, but Riley has built a championship team in Miami in the past without a running mate for Wade of Bosh’s caliber. Top four team in the East as things stand? I say that’s about right.
Where did it all go wrong?
Colangelo had three summers to improve upon the surprising 47 win team that raised all of our expectations. While there were a couple smaller moves that worked out fairly well, Amir/Belinelli/Jack, the larger ones failed miserably:
- He underestimated the value of Jorge Garbajosa after he went down with a broken leg, and literally did nothing to replace him in the lineup. While Jorge wasn’t the most talented of players, he was a glue guy for the Raptors who did a lot of the little things necessary to win games. The thinking at the time went that the team didn’t need a whole lot of tinkering, so there wasn’t any at all. Foul ball: 0-1
- After getting thumped by Orlando in the first round of the playoffs, the Raptors had a clear need for a second “20 point scorer” who could take some of the load off of Bosh, so defences couldn’t zero in on him and grind our offense to a halt. Jermaine O’Neal was obtained to be that guy who could come in and be fill that role. Seemed like this was the start of a couple other moves (a shooting guard in the mold of Mickael Pietrus would have been a good fit), but it was the only move. JO didn’t pan out at all, and things went from bad to worse prompting the premature (but widely expected) firing of Sam Mitchell. O’Neal was promptly shipped to Miami (with a 1st rounder to boot) for the expiring contract of Shawn Marion and the crippling contract of Marcus Banks. Strike two: 0-2
- The Raptors still needed that second option on offense, so Shawn Marion was turned into Hedo Turkoglu who, while coming off a great playoff run, couldn’t recreate the Magic (sorry) he displayed for Orlando. Hedo literally provided no relief on the offensive end of the court, and the Raptors narrowly missed the playoffs. To make matters worse, Hedo made a bigger mess with his appearance on Turkish television saying he wanted out and that the organization was unfair in their handling of his going out on the town. To top it all off, Colangelo outbid nobody and re-upped Bargnani to a 5yr/$50million contract instead of letting him prove his worth in a contract year and relying on the qualifying offer. That still could work out, but so far it hasn’t. Strike three: 0-3
If you were given the choice to play for Colangelo and Triano alongside Calderon, Turkoglu and Bargnani, or for Riley and Spoelstra alongside Wade and anyone else in the league – in Miami of all places, who would you choose? I think he made a great basketball decision. Doesn’t even matter that LeBron wont be joining them, since the pairing of Wade and Bosh rivals that of Kobe and Gasol.
Where does that leave the Raptors?
There is still some hope. Colangelo can still swoop in and try to make some things happen by giving Bosh a max contract, while trying to make a couple other things happen. I prematurely posted a Bucher rumour the other day that looks MIGHTY fine to me right now:
Chalmers/Beasley and a trade exception
It is doubtful we get any draft picks back since Bosh was willing to forgo some salary to sign outright with Miami; Riley has proved to be a shark in these matters. The Heat still need a top calibre point guard, which Calderon still is. This leaves them enough space to fill out the roster by signing a few of their own free agents, while grabbing some veterans. Not a bad start for the Heat.
Where do we go from here?
The short: it leaves a squad with a lot to be desired. You can’t expect that Beasley will replace what Bosh (you also can’t expect him to even be a part of our imaginary dream either) brought to the table, you just can’t. The kid has talent, there is no denying it but the other stuff that comes with him frankly has me nauseous. A front court of Turkoglu, Beasley and Bargnani doesn’t get me excited, but it does get rounded out with Johnson, Evans, Davis and Alabi. Chalmers and Banks back up Jack, with a trio at the wing of DeRozan, Weems and Belinelli. That isn’t terrible, but there are no stars, and no one who can create their own scoring opportunities AND get to the line like Bosh did. The playoffs would be an unlikely event with this group, though.
IF Colangelo can negotiate a S&T that includes Jose AND if he gets back a large enough trade exemption that we can land a star somehow (I hear Chris Paul is available if you take Emeka Okafor’s massive contract, just putting it out there) AND if said trade exception is properly managed, things are salvageable BUT I wont hold my breath based on this teams history.
Here’s another IF: LeBron James. IF he decides to sign in Miami, expect a deal to get done that includes Beasley. The Heat still need to clear some space to bring in the second max free agent. With
LeBron’s ego LeBron James holding a presser at 9pm tonight, Colangelo has a small window of opportunity to possibly take advantage of Riley since the clock is ticking to get LeBron to sign in Miami. Fortunately this ordeal will be over with quickly, then we can get to the important business of debating the crap out of our secondary tier of players and what to do with them.
I’m on Twitter.
Tags: Amir Johnson, andrea bargnani, bryan colangelo, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, Ed Davis, Erik Spoelstra, Hedo Turkoglu, Jarrett Jack, Jay Triano, Jermaine O'Neal, Jorge Garbajosa, jose calderon, Kobe Bryant, lebron james, marco belinelli, Marcus Banks, Mario Chalmers, Miami Heat, Michael Beasley, Mickael Pietrus, Pat Riley, Pau Gasol, sam mitchell, Shawn Marion, Solomon Alabi