Bosh trade would alter NBA landscape

Of all of the big-name players that will become free agents this summer, Chris Bosh’s situation seems to be the most delicate. The Raptors are playing pretty well — they’ve won eight of their last 11 and are currently the #6 seed in the East — but it’s not clear what his threshold is for staying in Toronto. A postseason berth? It’s probably going to take more than that. 50 wins and an appearance in the Eastern Conference Semis? Maybe.

But with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade basically untradeable, and with Joe Johnson and Amare Stoudemire playing well on winning teams, Bosh’s situation is the most fluid.

Toronto GM Bryan Colangelo told Peter Vescey of the New York Post the following via email:

“For the record, I am not actively seeking a deal or discussing Bosh with any team, much less the Lakers.

“I haven’t traded him yet and our position has been the same. We will not make a deal just to make a deal. Our intention is to keep him here long term.

“Additionally, I have not yet offered an extension as Dwyane Wade and LeBron James both received [from their respective teams]. So technically he has not said no.

“I honestly don’t think C.B. knows what the future holds, or what he wants to do, so I would say we’re still in the game as far as his pending free agency.”

Colangelo’s language is interesting: “I haven’t traded him yet.” Yet. That means he’s open to trading him, right? The Raptors are under the gun because they face the prospect of losing Bosh with zero compensation this summer. The deal that Vescey discusses in his article is a Andrew Bynum-for-Bosh swap with the Lakers. That deal would be feasible in the summer if the teams executed a sign-and-trade with Bosh. Otherwise, I don’t know that there’s a scenario where Bosh would agree to a sign-and-trade because he’d be effectively decimating his future team. The Lakers are the exception due to the presence of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. The deal makes some sense because the Raptors would get a true center with All-Star potential to play alongside Andrea Bargnani, who would be able to play his natural position — power forward. For the Lakers, the deal makes sense because while Bynum has played well in spurts, he and Pau Gasol don’t work all that well together when they’re both on the floor.

Chad Ford writes (via TrueHoop) that other teams around the league are reacting to the news that Bosh might be on the move:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Bosh to Houston?

There has been some Bosh to Chicago talk in recent days, and now Marc Stein says the Rockets are very interested in acquiring Toronto’s big man, even if they have no assurances that he’ll re-sign next summer.

What we did hear, though, is that the Houston Rockets have made it known that they would be willing to trade for Bosh immediately … even if they don’t get a guarantee they can re-sign him this summer.

Sources say the ever-aggressive Rockets are sure a half-season in Houston could convince the native Texan to pledge his long-term future to a city players love as well as a team that sits four games over .500 without the injured Yao Ming and the exiled Tracy McGrady.

This season’s success without marquee names also suggests that the Rockets have the requisite stash of assets — depending on whom they’re willing to surrender from a group that includes Aaron Brooks, Carl Landry, Trevor Ariza and Luis Scola — to assemble a legit deal for Toronto to consider. It’s likewise believed that Houston can put a decent package together without insisting that McGrady’s mammoth $22.5 million salary has to be part of it, which complicates matters even though it’s an expiring deal because so many more players have to be included to make the trade math work.

You figure Chicago, Miami and New York also are on the short list of teams that would be willing to risk trading for Bosh before we get to the summer. Those are the teams thought to have the best shot at signing him in free agency and could inherit Bosh’s Larry Bird rights with a deal before the deadline. None of them, though, can offer a better talent deal than Houston. The Heat and Knicks — with their heavily stripped-down rosters as the countdown continues to July 1 — can’t come close.

From a talent standpoint, I’m not so sure that Houston has the edge. They do have a number of good young pieces, but Miami’s Michael Beasley and the Knicks’ Danilo Gallinari would seem to have more upside than any of the Rockets mentioned. The Rockets do have more young talent overall than the Knicks or the Heat, so maybe they’ll be able to put a package together that will appeal to the Raptors. I’m sure Toronto would rather trade Bosh out of the Eastern Conference if possible.

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Does Dwyane Wade’s future depend on LeBron?

The short answer is…maybe.

Have you noticed how all of this LeBron-to-the-Knicks talk has died down as the Cavs put up the best record in the NBA this season? That’s because Cleveland is a favorite to make the Finals, and with the way the Lakers are struggling against the Rockets out West, the Cavs are looking more and more like an NBA champion. If they do manage to win a title this year (or next), it will be very difficult for LeBron to jump ship without looking like a total a-hole. So he won’t. If he wins a ring, he’ll stay in Cleveland.

So the Knicks will have to look elsewhere for their superstar — enter Dwyane Wade. As Dave Hyde of the Sun-Sentinel writes, the Big Apple would be an attractive destination for Wade.

The Knicks have the money. They have the allure. They have coach Mike D’Antoni’s fun style. They can tell Wade he would revive Knicks basketball and get the kind of spotlight only New York offers such stars. Who wouldn’t be tempted by all that?

So Hyde advocates that instead of waiting for 2010 and trying to add a star big man like Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire while at the same time re-signing Wade, the Heat should go ahead and trade Michael Beasley to Toronto for Bosh this summer.

So there’s the Armageddon scenario for the Heat: It advances only slightly next year, misses on Bosh, has the Knicks singing a siren song to Wade … and loses him.

If you’re Riley, do you risk that? All for Beasley, who, much as I like him, posed as many questions as answers this season? Even Wade, who measures his words, allowed as to how Beasley frustrated him at times with the immaturity.

The best way to sign Wade this summer is to offer concrete evidence he can win big here. That means landing his friend, Bosh. They were Olympians together. They share the same agent. They respect each other greatly.

That’s why the smartest move to make is trading the salary-matching pair of Beasley and Mark Blount to Toronto for Bosh.

It’s an attractive scenario to wait until 2010 and add Bosh to a lineup that includes Wade and Beasley. But there’s a good chance that Bosh could sign with Cleveland or that the Knicks could come in and steal both Bosh and Wade away from the Heat. Why risk a future with Wade for the promise of Beasley? While it sounds a little crazy to trade a young player with a ton of upside for a guy you might be able to sign outright the next summer, it’s risk versus reward. A Wade/Bosh combo would guarantee the Heat would compete in the East for the next five years. Throw in the steady Udonis Haslem, a more mature Mario Chalmers and a small forward to be named later, and Heat would have a nice lineup. But the biggest reason the Heat should acquire Bosh is that it will almost guarantee that Wade re-ups as well.

Now the question is — will the Raptors go for it?

Chris Bosh shoots down Stephen A. Smith’s story

Yesterday, we passed along Stephen A. Smith’s comments about Chris Bosh. He said that the talented power forward had already told the Raptors that he did not want to re-sign with the team once his contract expired in 2010.

Bosh didn’t waste any time responding to the story.

“No. No. No, I haven’t told him that,” Bosh said today after practice.

And just to add another layer of denial, he was asked whether his agent could have made the statement.

“No,” he said.

“It was a surprise to me and I can’t be responsible for what other people say so …,” said Bosh, his voice trailing off in disgust. “I understand people are entitled to an opinion but making stuff up? We can’t do that.

“It doesn’t make me angry, it’s like, ‘come on, man,'” said Bosh. “I think it’s unfair just to be able to say something and we have to be politically correct. It’s tough, it’s not the first time it’s happened and it won’t be the lat and I’m not the first person this has happened to. That’s the business that we’re in.”

Notice that Bosh denied that he told the Raptors that he wanted out, but didn’t say anything about wanting to re-sign with Toronto once his contract was up. To be fair, he probably wasn’t asked about that and wouldn’t have commented if he had been.

This is shot at Smith’s reputation as a journalist. I don’t think too many people take him seriously, as evidenced by the “ESPN entertainer” bit in the article. Still, he seems to have exceptional access to the players and I wonder if there will be any blowback from this.

Stephen A. Smith, your credibility is on the line. Let’s hear what you have to say.

Does Chris Bosh want out of Toronto?

The answer is yes, according to Stephen A. Smith. Bosh has apparently told the team he doesn’t have any interest in staying in Toronto, and Smith said that Miami and Dallas were likely suitors in a possible trade.

Bosh’s contract runs through the 2009-10 season, so he is one of the members of the vaunted free agent class of 2010. Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo is no dummy, so his first step will be to try to convince Bosh to stay. If that fails, there’s a chance that the team could move him before the trade deadline, which is about three weeks away. They should be able to get more for Bosh now than during the offseason since whatever team trading for him will have his services for the remainder of this season and the playoffs.

Smith mentioned the Heat and the Mavericks as possible trade partners. Miami’s major trading chip is Shawn Marion, but he’s in the final year of his contract and most of the league seems to be unwilling to pay him what they believe he is going to ask this summer. For that reason, trading for the Matrix is a dicey proposition. In Dallas, Josh Howard would presumably be the centerpiece of a deal for Bosh, though he has now stated publicly that he wants to stay in Dallas.

One team that should put a trade offer together is the Cleveland Cavaliers. They do have Wally Szczerbiak’s expiring contract ($13 M), so the Raptors could get immediate salary cap relief. They could package Wally’s contract with J.J. Hickson and two or three future first round picks and see if the Raptors bite. It would be a heck of a lot easier to re-sign LeBron if Bosh were already in Cleveland.

I’d also like to see the Bucks make a play for the talented power forward. Would the Raptors take Michael Redd and Charlie Villanueva for Bosh? I realize that Bosh would be unlikely to re-sign unless the Bucks vaulted into the top four in the East, but with a starting lineup of Ramon Sessions, Charlie Bell, Richard Jefferson, Bosh and Andrew Bogut, that would be one of the better teams in the East.

I really don’t know what happened to the Raptors. After re-signing Jose Calderon to a long-term deal, acquiring Jermaine O’Neal to help down low, and the emergence of Andrea Bargnani as a legitimate scorer, the Raptors should be a lot better than they are. They’ve already lost two in a row and they have the Lakers, Cavs and Hornets coming up in a brutal three-game stretch. And now the news breaks that their franchise player doesn’t want to return.

Things are bad in Toronto.

2/2 Update: Bryan Colangelo says the rumors about Bosh not wanting to re-sign with Toronto are untrue.

“It isn’t true,” said Colangelo. “It’s a complete fabrication.”

“It’s a non-story. Stephen A. got a little carried away. I’ve e-mailed him to talk about it but he’s in bed with the flu. Maybe the basketball Gods have something to do with that. I don’t know where that story came from.”

It will be interesting to see what Smith has to say about this. He didn’t cite a source or act like he was breaking a story; he just said that Bosh has already told the team he doesn’t want to return as if it were common knowledge. I’d like to see Smith defend himself here.

2/3 Update: Chris Bosh speaks out about the story.

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