Has Chris Bosh Already Left the Toronto Raptors?

Stephen BrotherstonAnalyst IApril 20, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 14:  Chris Bosh #4 of the Eastern Conference comes down after dunking against the Western Conference during the second half of the NBA All-Star Game, part of 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend at Cowboys Stadium on February 14, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. The Eastern Conference defeated the Western Conference 141-139 in regulation. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Anyone who watched Chris Bosh in his end-of-season interview at the Air Canada Centre media center had to come away somewhat discouraged by what they heard (Raptors Video Player, April 14, 2010.  Chris Bosh presser in three segments).

Chris Bosh did not say he is leaving the Raptors.

What Chris Bosh did say is it is going to take a lot of significant changes for him to consider staying.

Bosh was as polite and pleasant with what he was saying as possible.  The young man is deliberately careful about how he conducts business.  There were no burned bridges in his words.

But as anyone who has operated a business knows, when your employee starts laying down ultimatums about how you should be running your business, it is time to start looking for a new employee.

And it is not that one necessarily wants to replace that employee, but the likelihood of them staying and remaining a happy and productive employee has just dropped significantly.

Allowing the boys on the floor to run the business is always a bad decision.

From the start of this season, Chris Bosh has said that he intended to explore free agency.  This was despite the fact that only his current team could extend his current contract another five years (six total years counting next season’s option) at the maximum permitted by the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

But both Chris Bosh and Bryan Colangelo have stated that they will work together whether Chris decides to stay or go in order to help Chris get the best deal possible (for both Chris Bosh and the Raptors?).

And Bosh reconfirmed during his end-of-season presser that no matter what happens, Bryan and himself had agreed to work together.

This does makes sense.  If Bosh wants to leave, he can only get a maximum six year deal via the sign and trade route.  And because Bosh is an unrestricted free agent, the Raptors can only get compensation for him in this manner.

After Bosh’s end-of-season press conference, it looks like a sign and trade deal is the mostly likely scenario.

Bosh made the following telling statements at the presser:

  1. He wants to win games.
  2. He wants to be on a team that emulates teams that have had success.
  3. Teams competing for the finals have spent well over the luxury tax cap.
  4. Competitive teams have an All-Star level wing player on them.  Someone who can create their own shot.
  5. Changes need to be made to the Raptors for him to consider staying.

Chris Bosh made it very clear that he was surprised that the previous addition of Jermaine O’Neal and this season’s addition of Hedo Turkoglu did not result in a much better team.

He also made it very clear that the current team the Raptors have will not be enough to convince him to stay.  (That in of itself is reason enough for Bosh to move on—just imagine him returning to play with the same guys.)

Bryan Colangelo has stated that his bosses at MLSE will permit him to exceed the luxury tax level of salaries for the right reasons.  The only "right" reasons would have to be enough playoff revenues to compensate for the luxury taxes and lost revenue sharing.

But even if Colangelo wants to spend over the tax, under the Collective Bargaining Agreement it is not always that easy to do.

His mid-level exception for signing players while over the cap is only about $5.5 million and aside from Chris Bosh, the Raptors do not have any big money free agents to re-sign this season on their own roster.

Adding another All-Star level player to the Raptors roster would come down to being able to trade for one.  And in all fairness, that is a long shot.

Bryan Colangelo is facing the most difficult summer of his tenure with the Raptors.

While Chris Bosh is not officially out-the-door until after July 1st, that door seems to be closing.  If in fact it is only being held open out of politeness and respect.