Colangelo expects Bosh to sign elsewhere

I took a lot of heat (pun intended) over my assertion that the Raptors should have thought about trading Chris Bosh at the trade deadline instead of waiting for the summer.

Now the franchise is coming to the realization that Bosh is very likely on the way out, but they still hope to work out a sign-and-trade with his new team so that he can get a max contract and they can get something in return.

[GM Bryan] Colangelo told radio station Fan590 in Toronto that the Raptors still hope to keep the All-Star forward, but if Bosh does want to leave, he will try to work a sign-and-trade arrangement that could help both sides.

“As we look at Chris as a potential free agent, our own free agent, wanting to re-sign him, I still have that intention and desire,” Colangelo said. “But it’s becoming more and more clear that that’s not going to happen. Now we need to decide what the best way is to come out of this.”

A sign-and-trade would allow Bosh to get an extra year on his contract while enabling the Raptors to receive something in return for losing him. If Bosh simply signs with another team, it could cost him about $30 million.

I still think the chances of a sign-and-trade are relatively slim. That $30 million number is always thrown around, but it doesn’t take into account the money earned in the first year of the player’s next contract, so really the difference is about $10-$12 million. It’s still a consideration, but when a player says his #1 goal is winning titles, it doesn’t make much sense for him to force a sign-and-trade and effectively fleece his new team of its young prospects and draft picks.

The only type of sign-and-trade that make sense for Bosh and the Raptors this summer is one that brings back a player that plays the same position that Bosh does. For example, if Bosh decides to sign with the Knicks, the Raptors could work out a sign-and-trade that would include David Lee. This is about the best case scenario for Toronto, as the other players in the Bosh sweepstakes simply don’t have players of Lee’s caliber.

The Bulls have Luol Deng, but he’s more of a small forward and his salary is pretty steep — I’m not even sure the Raptors would want to take it on. Miami’s Michael Beasley makes sense, but his stock is awfully low right now and the Raptors don’t seem all that interested. Besides, if Bosh leaves, they’d like to move Bargnani to power forward, which seems to be Beasley’s natural position.

Predictably, Colangelo tries to spin the current situation:

“It’s the perfect storm for Chris Bosh to leave and unfortunately we’re possibly going to be on the short end of that, but we will evolve,” Colangelo said. “We will have to evolve and move forward.”

This didn’t happen overnight. If I could see the writing on the wall late last year, then surely Colangelo did too. The sign-and-trade strategy makes sense when there aren’t very many teams under the cap, but with this much cap space floating around, Bosh has plenty of options to sign with another team free and clear, and that may very well leave the Raptors out in the cold.

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