ESPN recently reported that Chris Bosh has given the Toronto Raptors a list of four teams that he would accept going to in a sign-and-trade—the New York Knicks, the Chicago Bulls, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Miami Heat.
The other interesting part of the report was that Bosh apparently wants to see where LeBron James signs as a free agent.
First, the Raptors are going to want a big man in return, as losing Bosh dramatically depletes their front line. Second, only the Knicks can sign both Bosh and LeBron without using the sign-and-trade.
With that in mind, let's look at the possibilities for sign-and-trades with the caveat that LeBron takes the first max contract slot.
The Lakers have no free agency room, and Pau Gasol plays the same position. He can play center, but he prefers the same power forward slot as Bosh. So the Lakers are a fall-back team if he cannot go where LeBron signs.
Any trade would have to start with Andrew Bynum. If Bosh wants to play with LeBron, then this is not going to happen. But, it could if Bosh decides he'd rather play with Kobe Bryant.
The Miami Heat would have to start with Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers, and draft picks if the goal is to play with LeBron and Dwyane Wade. Possible, if Toronto thinks that Beasley will become a star talent; however, this is probably the weakest package available for Toronto. If Bosh does not care about playing with LeBron, then he can sign with the Heat without a sign-and-trade.
Chicago would have to start its package with Joakim Noah and probably Luol Deng. If the Bulls are willing to part with Noah, then this becomes Toronto's best option. The Bulls would be left without a center and would also have no cap room to get a replacement. Still, a team of LeBron, Bosh, and Rose would have scary potential.
The Knicks can sign both LeBron and Bosh without making a deal, so they have the option of forcing Toronto's hand if they want to play hardball. So, while the Raptors would probably want Danilo Gallinari as part of a package, they may have to settle for less.
One scenario is a sign-and-trade involving David Lee. Lee would be a good fit on offense, and they would not lose any rebounding. Because of the Knicks' cap room, the Raptors could even get a trade exemption out of the deal.
There have long been rumors that LeBron and Bosh wanted to play together and they purposefully chose short contracts that expired in the same year so that they could make that happen.
If these latest rumors turn out to be true, then the Knicks and the Bulls would be the clear favorites to sign them.