A Jurassic Spark: 10 Players Who Can Help the Raptors Forget About Chris Bosh
It seems no one in the Raptors organization really wants Chris Bosh to depart for greener pastures this summer. And it seems Chris Bosh loves Toronto, the fans, and the Raptors organization.
But it also seems inevitable that Bosh will be gone by the start of next season, and that Chris Bosh and Bryan Colangelo have a tacit agreement to get the Raptors’ All-Star to a team he believes can compete for a championship by way of a sign-and-trade.
And the young businessman, who has made it clear that he doesn’t burn his bridges, is highly motivated to work with his current team. The Toronto Raptors can offer 2.5-percent higher annual raises and a sixth year to his next contract that his other suitors cannot. Not working with the Raptors could cost the young star upwards of $30 million.
Almost every team in the NBA would like to get their hands on a 26-year-old, five-time All-Star who is coming off his career best season statistically. There is no other power forward in the NBA who can claim 24 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks this past season. Actually, only two other players at any position managed better than 20 points and 10 rebounds in 2009-10.
Plus, Bosh isn’t just a contract-year anomaly. Bosh has averaged 22.8 points and 9.9 boards during the past five seasons. Teams are willing to pay to attract talent at this level. Pay in dollars, and pay in talent.
It is possible that all of the other 29 NBA teams put offers on the table to attract the services of Chris Bosh. But not all of them will and not all of them should.
However, some teams have bet their immediate futures on attracting an All-Star free agent to their team for the 2010-11 season, and others will simply see this as an opportunity to lock up one of the league’s stars for the next six years.
But which NBA team has something to offer that could possibly make Raptors fans forget they just lost their franchise player and look forward to next season themselves?
Here is a look at 10 possibilities that might help.
David Lee, New York Knicks
David Lee is one of two other players that managed a 20-point, 10-rebound season in 2009-10, but for some unknown reason the Knicks don’t appear to believe he’s the kind of guy they want to keep around.
Playing at the center position, David Lee was first on the team in scoring with 20.2 points, second in rebounding with 11.7 boards, and first in assists with 3.6 per game. He also managed 1.0 steals and 0.5 blocks per game.
David Lee is not Chris Bosh. A year older and a couple inches shorter, Lee does not look the part of an elite athlete. But Lee is a very good team player who should fit in extremely well on the offensively minded Raptors.
And besides, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if NY was to toss in another player or even a draft pick or two.
The Raptors could do much worse than David Lee.
Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls
Noah is the oft-fantasized athletic center that many Raptors fans have dreamed would be acquired by Toronto. For some, Noah would change everything. For others, not so fast.
Noah was a 10.7-point, 11.0-rebound, 1.56-block whirlwind with the Bulls this past season.
Just a year younger than Bosh, Noah has only played three NBA seasons and is still on his rookie deal.
And to those who believe the Bulls would never part with their young center, consider the difference in production, the closeness in age and then think harder.
The Bulls want to add an All-Star or two to their roster, and they created the cap room to make just such a deal possible.
Chris Kaman, L.A. Clippers
The Caveman was the sixth pick of the same 2003 draft as Chris Bosh and came back strong this season after missing most of the previous year because of injury.
Kaman is a true center, and a force in the post who would compliment Andrea Bargnani’s game well. And last year, the Caveman averaged 18.5 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks.
But when healthy and not fighting Marcus Camby for time and position, Kaman showed he can be a 12-rebound, 2.8-block player.
On the Raptors, Kaman would put up huge rebounding numbers.
The big issue might be that Bosh doesn’t see the Clippers as a competitive team. But with Baron Davis at the point and a healthy Blake Griffin to share the post with, Bosh might see this as an opportunity to be the star on a team that is going places.
The Clippers are profitable enough to take on Chris Bosh’s new contract. And Bosh is the star Kaman is not.
Carlos Boozer, Utah Jazz
Boozer is the power forward Chris Bosh is not. A bruiser.
And Boozer puts up All-Star worthy numbers. At 19.5 points and 11.2 rebounds, a healthy Boozer could make the Raptors forget about Bosh.
The minor details might be: Does Utah want to take on Bosh’s salary; and, does Utah decide maybe they should be keeping Boozer?
But deals are possible.
LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trailblazers
At 17.9 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, LaMarcus Aldridge isn’t the power forward one would think could make the Raptors forget about Chris Bosh.
In fact, Aldridge has often been described as "Chris Bosh Lite."
But it should be noted that Aldridge’s salary is "lite" compared to Bosh as well. Plus, the 24-year-old big man is at least as athletic and has proven to be a very effective player in the league.
To make a deal, Portland would have to add players, and they do have a surplus of big men—assuming Przybilla picks up his $7.4 million player option and Oden returns from injury.
Portland’s seven-foot veteran reserve center Joel Przybilla would look good on the Raptors. In 24 minutes, Przybilla will give you five points, eight boards, and more than a block a game.
Even better might be the return of the 36-year-old Marcus Camby to the Raptors. Camby can still average better than two blocks and 11 boards.
One thing is certain, Portland is not afraid to add big salary to get an All-Star.
Luis Scola, Houston Rockets
This 29-year-old veteran just finished his rookie deal after three NBA seasons. Considered a force in the paint and a hard worker, Scola finished the season with 16.2 points and 8.6 rebounds. Scola would be an effective power forward on the Raptors.
But since this will be his first contract as a restricted free agent, Scola will be a base-year player. And Scola will not earn a salary comparable to Chris Bosh.
What might make Toronto fans forget about Bosh are the additional players Houston would have to include to make a deal work. Players like Shane Battier and Aaron Brooks, possibly?
Brook Lopez, New Jersey Nets
This second-year center averaged 18.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks on a really bad Nets team. He is exactly the kind of player who could make Raptors' fans forget about Bosh.
The Nets decimated their roster to make room for premier free agent acquisitions and will do what it takes to make it happen. And depending on which pick they get in the first round, the Nets will be making roster moves to accommodate more changes.
It might be hard to see the Nets trading a rising star for a current All-Star, but the Nets have to make a deal this summer and Chris Bosh is likely the most available target.
And Bosh might believe Wall, Turner, or Cousins with the pick-up of Joe Johnson makes the Nets contenders in 2010-11.
Plus, the Nets have a second first-round pick they can send to the Raptors.
Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers
The player who should have been a Raptor may be the player who helps Raptors' fans forget about their departing All-Star.
Iggy is everything Toronto’s wing players were not last year—a young veteran wing who can score and defend.
At just 26-years-old, Iguodala still has his best years ahead of him, and with a stat line of more than 17 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.7 steals, this player would make an immediate positive impact on the Raptors.
But Andre Iguodala is not of the same stature as Chris Bosh, and his salary isn’t high enough to facilitate a trade on its own.
The Raptors would be asking for Marreese Speights or Jrue Holiday to equal out the talent and the salaries. When one of those players is combined with Iggy, Raptors' fans just might be able to forget Chris Bosh.
And this would likely be just the start of more deals for the Sixers and the Raptors.
Pau Gasol, L.A. Lakers
No, the player the Raptors should be after in LaLaland isn’t the younger, oft-injured Andrew Bynum.
Instead, the Lakers 29-year-old veteran big man, Pau Gasol, can play both the power forward and center positions at an All-Star level. And with four years remaining on his contract at under $20 million per season, Gasol is good value.
This past season Gasol averaged 18.3 points, 11.3 boards, and 1.7 blocks, and one would have to wonder why the Lakers would ever let this guy go?
But Gasol will never be the star in the NBA that Bosh is now, and Bosh’s star is set to rise if he ever landed in a media market like Los Angeles.
And as the Lakers showed signs of struggling during the season and early in the playoffs, it should not be hard to convince the high-spending Lakers to make the trade.
Bosh is younger, has better numbers, and has more U.S. media appeal.
Gasol would be a huge hit in Toronto, and he might be a better fit there than Bosh. Talent-wise, these two players are very close.
Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns
Not really, but Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire for Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon would make Toronto forget all about Chris Bosh.
Hands down, there is no more popular player in Canada than Steve Nash. And Amare Stoudemire would be an excellent replacement for Bosh.
The Raptors include DeMar DeRozan and the Suns do this deal for the salary savings and to get out from under the seemingly endless injury risk Amare presents.
And the Raptors wouldn’t be able to process the season ticket sales and renewals fast enough.
The Art of the Deal
There will be teams vying for Bosh’s services who have players to offer that will definitely not make Raptors' fans forget they are losing Bosh.
One only has to read the stories coming out of Miami to determine the Heat would like to send Michael Beasley to Toronto. Now that would make for a summer of discontent.
And when the Raptors finally make the sign-and-trade deal that sends their long-time All-Star off to another team, it is unlikely that they will be able to get full value for him.
In any deal, it is usually fair to say that the team that acquired the best player won the trade.
So the Raptors may not come out on top.
But there will be a lot of interest from many NBA cities in acquiring a top-level talent like Bosh, and the bidding will be dramatic. Bryan Colangelo and the Raptors should be able to acquire very good talent in return for Bosh’s services.
And maybe, if Colangelo excels at his job, the Raptors will acquire enough talent to excite Raptors' fans about next season. Even if next season will be played without Chris Bosh.