NBA Free Agency: Chris Bosh Is the Most Important Free Agent This Summer

Jesse MotiffSenior Analyst IJune 30, 2010

ATLANTA - DECEMBER 02:  Chris Bosh #4 of the Toronto Raptors against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on December 2, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  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 Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

With the most anticipated NBA summer ever about to begin tomorrow, rumors have been running rampant for months. 

LeBron is going to Chicago. He's staying in Cleveland. Chris Bosh will join James in Chicago. Bosh will work a sign-and-trade with the Lakers. Both will join Dwyane Wade in Miami. James and Bosh are heading to the New York. Wade is going to Chicago. It's enough to make even the most die-hard NBA fan's head spinning.

Bosh enters the free agency period as the third most coveted player behind James and Wade, and the most sought after big-man on the market. An argument could be made for Amare Stoudemire, but Bosh has missed much less time to injury than has Stoudemire.

For his career, Bosh has averaged 20.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game in his seven seasons. He has the ability to take over a game every bit the same way James or Wade can, but he has only three playoff victories to his credit. It's that lack of winning in the playoffs that will relegate Bosh to supporting role instead of the main attraction wherever he signs.

Even though he may not be the number one guy on a team, there's no reason he can't become the next Pau Gasol and be the best number two guy on a perennial championship contender. In fact, Bosh could easily match or surpass the career of Gasol, Scottie Pippen, or any other very good number-two guy in the right situation.

The latest on Bosh is that he will seek a sign-and-trade deal, to receive the maximum contract allowable. This complicates his situation a bit and makes it less likely to head to Miami. Even Bosh finds it unlikely that South Beach is in his future.

"I don't even know how it would work. It sounds like pie in the sky. [Pat] Riley is known as a guy who is like a mastermind-type genius. He's probably having a vision one day. But who knows? I don't see it happening."

Bosh also contradicts that a bit when he said his only priority is winning. 

If he wanted to win as badly as he would have everyone believe, pushing for a sign-and-trade wouldn't be an issue for him. He would sign either with Chicago or Miami before the ink could dry on the contracts for James or Wade. His siding with either player would instantly make that team the favorite in the Eastern Conference. 

Age is taking over in Boston, the Cavaliers are nothing without James, and the Magic still need Dwight Howard to assert himself as a true force in the paint. If Bosh hasn't thought all these scenarios through, his agent isn't doing his job.

So where will Bosh sign? It's anyone's guess. Luckily, all the guessing and speculation will begin to give away to cold hard facts in a few hours. 

Don't underestimate Bosh's value to James, Wade, and every team in the league right now. He may not be the prize of the free agent market, but wherever he decides to play, one or several NBA championships could follow.

However, until he can seriously look at himself in the mirror and decide whether money or winning is most important, the balance of power in the NBA will cease to leave the side of the Lakers. In fact, don't be shocked if he works that sign-and-trade option to join Kobe and the Lakers. 

To read more by Jesse Motiff, click here.