NBA Free Agents 2010: Chicago Bulls Need Chris Bosh Before LeBron James

Brian ChappattaCorrespondent IIJune 30, 2010

NEW YORK - JANUARY 28: Chris Bosh #4 of the Toronto Raptors lays the ball up against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2010 in New York, New York. 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 Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

With less than 24 hours until free agency officially begins, you get the sense that teams and their fans are no longer talking smack about why they will end up with the grand prize, LeBron James.

Instead, they are trying to figure out what they will do if they don't get LeBron.

Let's face it, there can only be one winner of the James sweepstakes. Moreover, whichever team gets LeBron is almost assured to get another top free agent.

With two free agents down, and Dwayne Wade and Dirk Nowitzki almost certainly resigning with their old teams, suddenly the number of top players available does not look so good for the likes of the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, and New Jersey Nets.

They all have room for two-star players, but there might not be enough star power to go around.

That means for teams like the Bulls, it's important to lock down a star not named LeBron who fits a need, and then try to court the King.

The player the Bulls need to lock down is Chris Bosh.

I've said it all along: Bosh is the most important player for the Bulls to sign. If it means signing LeBron to get Bosh to join the Bulls, then so be it.

Experts say this free agent class is deep at power forward, and that's certainly true. Amare Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, and David Lee are not players to take lightly.

If the Bulls want to run a fast-paced offense, it comes down to Bosh and Stoudemire.

And if the Bulls want a player who has fewer medical red flags, then it's Bosh, and only Bosh.

He would be the perfect fit. He's been adamant this offseason that he will not play center. He is a power forward.

With Joakim Noah in Chicago, he won't have to worry about taking on bigger players. Noah is a better defender than Bosh, anyway.

In Miami and in New York, he does not have that guarantee. Perhaps in the Lakers and Rockets scenarios, he could also play power forward, but that would strictly involve a sign-and-trade, which he does not seem to be completely open to.

Look, I would love to have LeBron James in Chicago. In my mind, he's the second-best player in the league behind Kobe, and in a year he will surpass Bryant. He can single-handedly add several wins to a franchise.

But any team that puts all their faith into obtaining James (cough...Knicks...cough) is poised for a letdown. In the past few days I've actually warmed up to the idea of LeBron staying in Cleveland, as unlikely as it sounds at this point.

Teams need to come up with alternate plans to avoid being shut out of all the best players. New York seems content with recreating the old Phoenix Suns with Joe Johnson and Stoudemire...without Steve Nash and Shawn Marion, of course.

That's why the Bulls need to go after Bosh relentlessly. According to a report by the Daily Herald, Bosh could be the first player the Bulls talk to on July 1.

Make him feel wanted. Make him feel like the power forward of the Bulls' dreams, because that's what he is.

Tell him Miami would be indifferent between him and Boozer. Tell him the organization will do everything in its power to get another superstar to join him, particularly James or Johnson.

Remind him of what Nash did for Stoudemire's career, and what Chris Paul did for Tyson Chandler's career. Derrick Rose could be that kind of point guard for him.

Remind him that he would be the man. The offense would run through him and Rose.

Bosh has always had his eyes set on Chicago, but with all the rumors, talk, and speculation surrounding free agency, his vision has been slightly impaired.

Time to get him seeing straight again.