Chris Bosh’s wish list is revealing…

…and not in the way you might think.

Per ESPN…

Chris Bosh’s agent has told the Toronto Raptors that he’s narrowed his list of preferred teams to five, two sources told ESPN.com’s Chad Ford at the NBA draft camp.

The list of five teams — Toronto plus the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and New York Knicks, sources said — were given to Toronto management in case the Raptors want to construct a sign-and-trade deal (assuming he doesn’t re-sign with Toronto).

Bosh likes that option, sources told Ford, because he’d get one more year on his contract and could make more money.

I’m not sure why Bosh would give Toronto a list of sign-and-trade destinations that included the Raptors, but hey, sources are sources.

There are no real surprises there. The Bulls, Heat, Knicks and Lakers have long been rumored as possible landing spots for Bosh. But the absence of a few other teams — namely, the Nets, Rockets and Thunder — is a bit surprising.

In terms of potential sign-and-trade chips, each team on his list has at least one player the Raptors might want. Chicago has Luol Deng, though he’s a bit overpaid. The Knicks have David Lee, who would be a nice consolation prize if Bosh decides not to re-sign with Toronto. The Heat have Michael Beasley, but his stock continues to fall. And the Lakers have Andrew Bynum, but with his knee injuries, he’s not as enticing of a prospect as he was at the start of the season.

But here’s what gets me about this story, if it’s accurate — Bosh may want that extra year on his deal, but it’s going to be tough for a team that already has the cap space to sign him to have to take a big hit in young talent and draft picks as well. In fact, this strategy reveals that Bosh is more concerned with the size of his own paycheck than he is with the strength and potential of his new team. I realize it’s a lot of money, but when a player says over and over that it’s “all about winning” and then turns around and forces his new team to give up a couple of prospects and/or draft picks so that he can pocket an extra $30 million (and an extra year on the deal), then clearly he’s being disingenuous.

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What are the chances of a sign-and-trade for Bosh?

Even if he leaves Toronto, Chris Bosh says that he plans to stay in contact with Bryan Colangelo throughout the free agency process.

“No matter what happens, me and Bryan agreed to work together,” Bosh said. “I think that’s important. I respect him as a GM and he respects me as a player. No matter what you do, you always want to do good business in this league. We’re always going to talk.”

Colangelo had similar things to say.

“There are certain things we’ll be pursuing in the coming months that might address things on our team with or without Chris. We remain Chris Bosh’s best option to maximize his contract potential” (referring to sign-and-trade)

“We have agreed that regardless of whether or not he stays, we’ll be working together and talking. We’ll be assessing what options we have but it’s not often that a young athlete walks away from a significant amount of money and that’s the difference between him working for us and…doing a sign-and-trade.

This has been the fallback option for Raptor fans who liked the idea of the team keeping Bosh through last February’s trade deadline. It does make some sense for him because Toronto can sign him to an extra year which means more long-term security and bigger raises over the life of the contract. Conversely, if he agrees to a sign-and-trade, it needs to be with a team that has assets that would be deemed expendable given his arrival (i.e. Miami trading Michael Beasley because they play the same position, or the Knicks executing a sign-and-trade with David Lee, whom they wouldn’t re-sign if Bosh were headed to New York). Otherwise, why would Bosh agree to fleece his new team of most of its good, young assets when he can sign with the team outright?

If Bosh does execute a sign-and-trade with a team like Miami that has the cap space to sign him free and clear, one would have to question Bosh’s sincerity when he says he just wants to win. If that were the case and he were headed to Miami anyway, he should sign a five-year deal (instead of a six-year deal) and allow the franchise to keep the rights to Beasley which then could potentially be flipped for another good player. (The Lee scenario is different because he would be a free agent anyway and wouldn’t be back if the team were to sign Bosh outright, so they’re not really losing anything asset-wise.)


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Knicks preparing for Plan B?

The title of Marc Berman’s New York Post piece — “LeBron-to-Knicks hope fading” — says it all.

With each passing day, as the Knicks disgrace themselves and the Cavaliers march to their potential first NBA championship, the Knicks’ chances of free-agent glory in landing LeBron James this summer gets more remote.

A bit dramatic, don’t you think? What if the Cavs lose in the Eastern Semifinals — wouldn’t all this talk just start back up again?

James clung to his mid-November policy of not talking about his free-agent options, but he has left enough hints to New York fans that the Knicks’ bid is a longshot.

In his lone appearance at the Garden, Nov. 6, James said in strong terms the only factor is whether he can win at his new destination. At All-Star weekend, he reiterated, “It’s all about winning.”

Well, it’s not all about winning, is it? I thought LeBron’s #1 goal was to become a “global icon.” But there’s a strong argument that says that to truly become a global icon, LeBron needs an NBA championship.

As bad as the Knicks may be, if LeBron sees a scenario where he and, say, Chris Bosh can play in New York (or even the LeBron-Wade-Bosh trio) then it’s hard not to think that the Knicks would be vastly improved in just one season. Throw in a few savvy vets willing to play for the minimum for a shot at the ring and suddenly the Knicks are an Eastern Conference power.

Team sources indicated D’Antoni would be very pleased to add overshadowed free agent Joe Johnson as a fallback. D’Antoni thinks Johnson is a great piece to build around.

But Johnson, the potential re-signing of David Lee and another mid-level free agent, does not put the Knicks in position to compete for a championship.

No, it doesn’t. I like Joe Johnson, but he’s turning 29 this June and Basketball Prospectus predicts Johnson’s three-year value to be the least amongst this summer’s big-name free agents.

It sounds like the Knicks are already doing some damage control in case the Cavs win a title this summer and LeBron stays put. In that case, I suspect Chris Bosh would join Dwyane Wade in Miami and the Knicks would be looking at the likes of Johnson, Amare Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, David Lee and Rudy Gay. Two of those players would probably get the Knicks to the playoffs, but they aren’t going to win a title anytime soon.


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LeBron, Wade and Bosh to NY?

Gene Wojciechowski makes a strong case that this summer’s three biggest free agents should put their salaries aside and team up in NYC.

But if James, Wade and Bosh truly want to make history, they could do the unthinkable and split the Knicks’ $33 million three ways. It would cost them salary money, but can you imagine how much they’d make on the back end if they started reeling in NBA titles? In New York?

Whatever they’d lose on their paycheck stubs, they’d make up in endorsements. And it’s not as if they’re filing simple federal tax returns these days. According to a 2009 Forbes analysis, LeBron earned about $42.4 million in salary and endorsements — more than Britney Spears, Jay-Z or Tom Cruise and almost as much as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie combined.

Wade was No. 12 on Sports Illustrated’s 2009 Fortunate 50, earning $26.4 million in salary and endorsements. Bosh didn’t make the top 50, but he is making $15.7 million from the Raptors this season.

Anyway, they all can afford to do something daring. Just think: James, Wade and Bosh at Madison Square Garden.

Seriously, who would touch them? Wade at guard. LeBron at point forward. Bosh in the post or on the wing. Three good guys who could handle the New York media. Three seven-year veterans who understand you get only so many chances to hug the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Three singular players who know careers are defined by championships, not just checkbooks.

It’s fun to think about, but does anyone believe this is actually going to happen? Will these three NBA superstars put their egos aside and take $5-$6 million less per season to team up in New York? Wojciechowski’s point that they’d make even more in endorsements is completely valid, but leaving $30-$35 million on the table is a tough pill to swallow.


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Did Chris Bosh really say that he doesn’t want to play second banana?

Ric Bucher wrote the following in the ESPN rumors section:

…since Raptors PF/C Chris Bosh made it clear over All-Star weekend that he’s not interested in leaving Toronto to be the second banana elsewhere.

Here’s what Bosh actually said, courtesy of the Toronto Sun.

“I was just looking at what people say and it’s like: ‘Chris is going to go here and play with him or this, this and that.’ I’m like: Wait a minute. I feel like I should be built around. And maybe that’s just my ego talking, but I feel that I’m a very good player in this league and I’m only going to get better. So … maybe we should be getting somebody (in Toronto).”

From the what-did-he-mean-by-that portion of the program came this little tidbit from Bosh: “Things you like and dislike change daily,” Bosh said, “(which makes it) impossible almost to not only predict the future, but predict your feelings.”

How do you leave this exchange thinking that Bosh “made it clear that he’s not interested in leaving Toronto to be the second banana elsewhere”? To me, it sounds like a guy who is angry at the media for assuming that he’s leaving Toronto this summer. He suggests that the team should be “getting somebody” in Toronto, but the Raptors aren’t going to have any cap space for the next couple of summers — they did their “getting” last summer when they signed Hedo Turkoglu.

So if the Raptors finish the season with 44 or 45 wins and bow out in the first round of the playoffs, does anyone really think that Bosh isn’t going to think long and hard about playing elsewhere? Being “built around” is fine, but as history has shown, it takes two superstars to win a NBA championship, and the Raptors only have one.

Bucher is taking Bosh’s words as gospel — that he’s not leaving Toronto to play with LeBron or Wade elsewhere — but in the very same interview Bosh admits what he likes or doesn’t like changes daily, and says it’s impossible to predict the future. I have no problem if Raptor fans find comfort in Bosh’s words, but Bucher is making that extra leap by saying that Bosh has ruled out playing somewhere else, and that’s simply not what the man said.


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