Toronto writer says Bosh is dogging it

Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star thinks Chris Bosh may be saving himself for this summer’s free agency period.

This spoke to a larger and troubling trend. Bosh is averaging 6.2 free-throw attempts per game in March, this when he was getting to the line more than 10 times a game in October. There are enthusiasts of teen abstinence with less aversion to body contact. One can’t help but conclude that the impending free agent is saving himself for (another) marriage.

“They’re crowding the lane a lot more,” Bosh said, explaining himself. But anyone who watches can tell you the defences haven’t changed, Bosh’s approach has.

Perhaps he is opting for jump shots to limit his risk of injury with a $130 million (all figures U.S.) payday looming in July. But don’t the Raptors, desperate to make the playoffs, deserve honest effort for the $15.8 million they are paying him this season? Perhaps he doesn’t want to continue to expose the startling lack of explosiveness he’s been showing in his rare sorties to the goal, what with the health of his brace-sheathed knees.

Wow, tell us how you really feel, Dave.

Here’s a look at Bosh’s production by month:

Nov: 25-12, 50% FG, 10.6 FTA
Dec: 22-10, 55% FG, 7.6 FTA
Jan: 25-12, 53% FG, 7.3 FTA
Feb: 29-11, 56% FG, 9.4 FTA (5 games)
Mar: 22-9, 48% FG, 6.3 FTA

For his career, Bosh averages 20-9, 49% FG and 7.4 FTA, but he hasn’t attempted fewer than 8.0 free throws per game since the 2004-05 season.

There’s no doubt about it — Bosh is getting to the line less in March than he was in previous months. Is this due to a lack of effort or aggression, or tied somehow to his desire to stay healthy for this summer’s big payday? Only he knows, but the drop in free throw attempts hasn’t dropped that much.

A few months ago, I took a lot of heat when I suggested that Toronto might want to explore a Bosh-for-Beasley swap with Miami. Raptor fans basically said I was nuts and that there was always the option of a sign-and-trade during the summer.

One commenter, “Nova,” had this to say:

Well well well…message to all the know-it-alls, its now Feb 4th 2010 and the raps are 4 games over 500 and then Heat are not. Sure Miami is nice and sunny, but bosh is not so superfical. TO has the 4th best record in the league since Dec. Miami is under achieving this year, adding Bosh won’t help. He see’s more potential in TO than Miami right now.

Forget the fact that Nova had a huge hole in his argument — that Bosh heading to Miami would make the team far better — the Heat have passed the Raptors in the standings. It’s now April 1, and the Heat are 41-34, while the Raptors are 37-37 and battling Chicago for the final playoff spot.

Michael Beasley hasn’t exactly lit it up in Miami, but maybe he needs a change of scenery to take the next step in his career. There’s no doubt that he’s a talented player — his problem seems to be psychological or motivational. I don’t know that Beasley would be the best that Toronto could have done for Bosh at the trade deadline, but since they held onto him, we’ll never know.

Toronto fans also love the idea of a sign-and-trade this summer, though I don’t know how feasible it is. There are so many teams with cap space and Bosh’s options will be wide open. Why would he agree to a sign-and-trade when it’s only going to serve to fleece his new team of good young talent and draft picks? For an extra year on the deal and some more money? Maybe…maybe…but not likely.

The only deal that seems possible is that rumored Bosh-for-Bynum swap with the Lakers. But now that Bynum is sidelined…again…do the Raptors even want him? Bynum has two years and $29 million remaining on his deal and has only played 150 games in the last three seasons.

This isn’t a situation like Joe Johnson’s when he left Phoenix. He was a restricted free agent, so the Suns had the right to match any offer he signed. Bosh will be an unrestricted free agent, so he can sign with whomever he chooses. I think the best bet is that Bosh will sign with Miami, New York or Chicago, and the Raptors will have let him leave Toronto without getting anything in return.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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