As the Toronto Raptors flopped out of the starting gate, the future of Raptors forward Chris Bosh seemed to become clearer.

While Raptors management blew up the roster last summer after a 33-win season, the team's 7-13 start suggested that there wasn't much reason for the former Georgia Tech star to stay when he is expected to become a free agent next summer. The Raptors were among the worst defensive teams in the NBA, and after the Hawks hung 146 on them Dec. 2, Bosh cited effort as the culprit.

However, Toronto has won 12 out of 17 since then, including eight of its past nine. The Raptors have beaten San Antonio, Orlando and Houston over the 17-game stretch and have surrendered 115 only three times, and they have kept teams under 100 eight times. They play at home against Boston on Sunday.

"I think everybody knows everybody else better now," said forward Hedo Turkoglu told reporters after Toronto beat Orlando on Wednesday. "We're kind of getting comfortable with each other, and it's starting to show."

Point guard Jose Calderon has come back after missing 12 games with a sore hip. Bruising forward Reggie Evans, who has missed the entire season with a sprained foot, could come back soon.

It all makes for an interesting next few weeks for Toronto. The Raptors hold out hope that they can persuade Bosh, who last Sunday became the franchise's all-time leading scorer, to re-sign.

However, Toronto might weigh the benefit of trading Bosh before the Feb. 18 trading deadline -- seemingly unlikely, but Houston is reportedly interested -- with the risk of having him walk away next summer for nothing. How well Toronto continues to play -- Bosh would be more likely to return to a team on the rise -- should factor into the decision.
ajc.com