As the NBA playoffs move inevitably towards the Finals, the hopes and concerns of players, fans, and media have begun to dominate every NBA city. Except of course in Boston and LA, where those lucky fans still get to talk about this season!
Except for Steve Nash saying that Chris Bosh should stay in Toronto and Hedo Turkoglu turning up the whine-o-meter, there isn’t really any NEWS to report about the Toronto Raptors. And perhaps that is how it should be.
But just in case it isn’t obvious, those big soon to be free agent All-Stars have done their best to remain in the news.
Chris Bosh and twitter gate.
The Bosh sign and trade list that may, or may not, actually exist.
Wade won’t sign with the Heat until after he knows who his teammates are for next season.
The “coming-soon” D-Wade free agent summit meeting.
LeBron James and his “team” have planned for his pending free agency for a long time.
It’s time for LeBron’s “team” to implement their free agent plan.
It's only May and the NBA Finals haven’t even started yet. But not being the center of attention appears to be a bit stressful for some of the league’s young stars.
So the only “news” being generated reads more like grocery store tabloid reporting and has led to the numerous “what if” speculations about each players’ possible future. And that does look like what each of these young men intended to happen.
The only real information the pending free agents have disseminated that seems to hold a grain of truth is they all want to win. The fair interpretation being that they will not sign with a rebuilding program.
The other elephant in the room that so many hopeful fans and media so often choose to ignore is that after next season, the NBA CBA will be renegotiated. And the new CBA will in all likelihood have lower maximum salaries, lower annual raises, and shorter contract durations.
Players who can sign maximum new contracts in July will not be taking the 5-years and 8.5 percent raises that teams with cap space can offer. They will be insisting upon the 6-year deal with 10 percent raises available from their current clubs.
Sign and trade deals will be the order of the day. Teams with free agents will have significantly more power than in any other free agent signing period. The teams with cap space will not just be able to swoop in and snatch up a LeBron or Bosh without negotiating with Cleveland or Toronto.
There will be a strange leveling of the playing field between teams with cap space and teams with free agents as well as teams with cap space and teams willing to trade for free agents.
And thus creates the strange dynamic that will make this off season’s free agent period the most exciting in NBA history.
The Cavaliers can pursue Bosh as well. Signing a second All-Star may be the Cavaliers' only chance to keep LeBron James in Cleveland.
But where teams can pursue Chris Bosh in sign and trade scenarios, the reverse is also true. The Toronto Raptors have what Dwyane Wade wants .
Where most teams with cap space got there by decimating their rosters, the Raptors have a team with enough veterans and young potential that adding an All-Star beside Chris Bosh could create that next NBA dynasty in Toronto.
If Bryan Colangelo can get MLSE to open their extremely fat wallet, the Raptors have the cash and the cash flow to pay for another max free agent. And the Toronto market rivals the biggest markets in the US. A winning team will sell-out the ACC and ticket prices will not be much of a barrier.
At the end of the season, Bryan Colangelo stated that MLSE had given him the opportunity to exceed the luxury tax cap in order to improve the team.
So far, all the news coming out of the Raptors offices has been that they would like to resign Chris Bosh and develop their young and exciting core of players.
The possibility of working with Bosh on a sign and trade has been agreed to going back to last season and appears to be dependent on the Raptors ability or inability to attract another star talent to Toronto.
If Bosh goes, it looks like Bryan Colangelo could be working on another rebuilding process for the Raptors.
If Bosh stays, Colangelo will have made his move to reload the Raptors with new talent that can take the team deep into the playoffs next season.
As a Season Seat Holder, all I’ve got the say on the matter is:
“Just Say No To Rebuilding!”