NBA Playoff outcomes affect Raptors options

The Chris Bosh sign-and-trade is the main Raptors angle to this year’s playoffs. I find myself rooting for an OKC upset of the Lakers and the Spurs beating the Mavericks, in both cases hoping that the losing team will have to re-think their team structure, and perhaps make that move which puts them over the top.

The Chris Bosh sign-and-trade is the main Raptors angle to this year’s playoffs. I find myself rooting for an OKC upset of the Lakers and the Spurs beating the Mavericks, in both cases hoping that the losing team will have to re-think their team structure, and perhaps make that move which puts them over the top.

There’s no secret that Dallas is struggling to cope with things after their 2006 NBA Finals defeat to the Heat when they blew a 2-0 series lead. The following year they lost as the top seed to the Warriors which hurt their psyche to the point where they still haven’t recovered. Now they’re in danger of being ousted as the #2 seed by the Spurs after going down 3-1 last night in San Antonio. If they do lose, I don’t expect Mark Cuban to remain idle, but to re-build “on the fly”. Chris Bosh going to his home-town makes too much sense not to discuss, so I bring forth a simple scenario where we trade Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon for Dirk Nowitzki and DeShawn Stevenson. Dallas would also have to throw in a couple picks because they get a Chris Bosh who would be signed to a long-term contract, whereas as get Dirk entering the final year of his deal (he’s got a player-option of $21M).

Nowitzki will be 32 in June so building around him would be questionable, in the best case we could allocate enough resources over the summer to be a legitimate threat in the East for the next couple years. Or we could just let Nowitzki and Stevenson come off the cap next summer and start fresh. We’d only have approximately $24M tied in salary next summer which would put us in a position to go after free agents, problem is that it’s not a great free-agent summer and the headliners are the likes of Al Horford, Marc Gasol, and Joakim Noah. Also, with another year of losing under our belt, we would have missed the playoffs for three straight years, not exactly the type of situation a player looking to win something might want to come into.

Then there’s the Lakers. They’re tied 2-2 with OKC and have a must-win situation at Staples, a place where the Thunder played them tight in losing 95-92 in Game 2. What moves would a Lakers exit force Mitch Kupchak to make? Would Bynum or Gasol be available for Bosh? Would we even be remotely interested in Gasol (turning 30 in July), given how his career runs parallel to Bosh – good player on a bad team and is at best option #2 on a legitimate contender. Obviously, building around him is out of the question, but Bynum is another matter. He’s signed through the 2012-13 season and is only 22. His character doesn’t exactly speak of someone who’s a team-leader, but he has plenty of potential, and acquiring him would mean we could move Andrea Bargnani to his natural PF spot, not that it would make a great deal of difference, in my opinion.

The Lakers would also have to swallow Jose Calderon, but that could be accommodated by throwing in the expiring contract of Sasha Vujacic. It wouldn’t make us contenders by any means, but it would take the hit of losing Bosh more manageable. After all, Bynum is a promising young center with a physical advantage over everyone by Dwight Howard at his position. If he refines his post-game in the slightest, the potential is nothing short of great.

The Spurs, whether they win the title or not, have to be looking into the future. Tim Duncan is 33, Ginobili is 32 and while Tony Parker is in his prime at 27, George Hill has shown that he’s capable of being the Spurs PG of the future, and they have to be thinking about bringing him along faster. Other than Parker, there’s very little on the Spurs roster that you like talent-wise. I’m also not sure how willing they’d be taking on Jose Calderon as a backup at $10M/yr. As much as the Spurs would like to pass the mantle from Duncan to Bosh, the reasons for the Raptors to make a deal just aren’t plentiful. Tony Parker is a very good player, but building your team around him might not be the way to go.

Utah’s 3-1 lead over Denver is made even more impressive by their injuries, with Okur and Kirilenko both out, the Jazz have dipped into the likes of Kyrylo Fesenko for production and haven’t been disappointed. Players like that speak to Utah’s in-depth scouting and Jerry Sloan’s system, which seems to work like a clock. Sloan could probably be the best coach in the NBA, but years of being good to great but not great enough in the west, means they’ve rarely had a high pick which has to stunt any youth movement, no matter how good the scouting. Carlos Boozer is a free-agent and Andrei Kirilenko’s $17M will be coming off the cap next summer. Who will Deron Williams run the pick ‘n roll with? Is Paul Millsap ready for primetime, or will the Jazz look to get another All-Star? Going up and down the Jazz roster, talent-wise, Millsap is literally the only player you’d be interested in, and parting with Bosh for him seems too steep of a price.

There’s also Phoenix, but the recent talk of a Stoudemire extension should kill all Bosh trade talk. Do remember that Bryan Colangelo drafted Stoudemire, I’m sure Colangelo would feel he got a very fair deal if he managed to land Stoudemire for Bosh. Whether Phoenix would want to disrupt their chemistry by bringing in Bosh, someone who plays on the perimeter far more than Stoudemire, remains to be seen.

There’s also Bosh to OKC and Bosh to Miami. The latter obviously has weight, there’s not a doubt in anyone’s mind that Miami will make a play for Bosh and will offer Beasley. To me that should be a last resort for Colangelo, hell, if I were him, I wouldn’t even field Pat Riley’s call given how things turned out for the Raptors the last time those two talked.

Chicago, Miami, Portland, OKC, and Charlotte are all teams that will be looking to build on their recent successes. It’s imaginable that Portland would be very open to the possibility of landing Bosh and would give up LaMarcus Aldridge, but whether Colangelo would go for that (after basically labeling Aldridge as overpaid) is doubtful. While Bosh has many suitors and, if Colangelo plays his cards correctly, there’s a chance that we could get a solid player in return for him, the same can’t be said about Turkoglu. If the Lakers, Cavaliers, Spurs, Mavericks or Jazz, get knocked off earlier than expected, it’s hard to see any of those clubs looking at someone like Turkoglu as the answer.

Who wins and who loses (and when they lose) will have an affect on how those teams choose to go about future business. With the free-agents in play this summer, there hasn’t been a better chance to re-tool, and we happen to have the Ace of Clubs in our hand. Let’s see if Bryan Colangelo can parlay that into something even bigger.

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