There are two major stars on two different teams and each has what the other wants. Each other!
There was no mistaking what Dwyane Wade was saying after being rolled over by the Celtics in this year’s playoffs. That was the last time the he would be on a team that doesn’t go deep into the postseason.
And Wade is almost good enough to ensure this by himself. Keyword being: almost!
The Heat are woefully thin on talent after Wade and it has been this way for some time.
As Chris Bosh left the ACC after the Raptors missed the playoffs on the final day of the season, there was no mistaking what he was telling MLSE, the Raptors, and the fans. If you want me back, the Raptors have to acquire an All-Star wing for me to play with.
The fantasy of every GM is to have an All-Star big and an All-Star wing. If you could toss in an All-Star point guard, that would be nice too, but that may be beyond most teams' good fortune to have, Boston being the recent exception.
Besides, a lot of solid players can look like All-Stars when playing beside one of the league’s elite. Just look at Cleveland.
And if Wade and Bosh were to play together, it should be expected that they would make a lot of average NBA players look very special.
Both Wade and Bosh are in the unique position of being able to almost force their respective clubs into doing what they want during this upcoming offseason.
Both players can decline their player options to become unrestricted free agents and walk away from their respective clubs with nothing more than a wave goodbye.
But neither of these players are likely to be inclined to force the issue all the way. Both can extract six-year, $130 million deals from their own clubs, but would have to sacrifice the $27 million guaranteed in year six if they sign directly with other team.
A sacrifice that’s not going to happen.
And both Miami and Toronto are expecting their All-Star players will cooperate with their respective GMs in the event they wish to leave and sign elsewhere. A team getting nothing back from the departure of their star is equally unlikely.
In Miami, the hope is Wade will draw Bosh to Florida and the state income tax-free lifestyle (this doesn’t actually happen as players are taxed in each state they play in).
The Heat could offer up Beasley and a trade exception knowing that’s not going to get it done but hoping a third player/team could be found that would satisfy Bryan Colangelo.
The remaining factor being that the two All-Stars might be looking at the Heat having little talent after themselves and a lot of work left for the team to find them someone to play with.
In Toronto, assuming MLSE can get the Teachers Pension Fund to open up the organization's very deep pockets, the Raptors could be making an even stronger pitch to Wade.
The Raptors, unlike the Heat who barely even have a roster now, have some players who can be (should be) counted upon to help take the team deep into next year’s playoffs. Hedo Turkoglu may have come into 2009-10 out of shape but he is a proven playoff performer the likes of which Wade hasn’t seen in years.
If Wade’s goal is playoff success, Miami would have substantially more work to do than Toronto.
And unlike Miami, Toronto has some assets to help ease the Heat’s pain in a reluctantly agreed to sign and trade.
Toronto could offer a couple of “veterans” in Bargnani and Calderon.
Or Toronto could offer a “rebuilding” package of: Andre Bargnani, DeMar DeRozan, Sonny Weems, and Marco Belinelli.
Toronto even has $10 million in expiring deals and a first-round lottery pick that they could throw on the table.
The Toronto/Miami sign and trade scenarios are not any more likely than any of the other numerous possibilities that are out there for both these teams.
And the players will have a substantial impact on how any deal goes down.
But when push comes to shove, Colangelo should be pushing to get the star player heading into Toronto instead of heading out.