NBA Free Agency Watch: The Top Three Destinations for Chris Bosh

Joel C. Cordes@@bballJoelNBA Associate EditorApril 14, 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

What an unceremonious way to go. 

Chris Bosh's facial injury will probably end up damaging much more than just his nose.  In all likelihood, it not only ended Toronto's chances of making the Playoffs this year—as Chicago now has more momentum for the 8th and final spot in the East—but it also was probably the end of Bosh's tenure in a Raptors uniform.

Unlike Joe Johnson, (discussed last week, http://bleacherreport.com/articles/375344-nba-free-agency-watch-the-top-3-destinations-for-joe-johnson), Chris Bosh is not only the most likely to leave of the free agents we'll discuss, but he also would probably be the smartest to do so.

While Toronto didn't make my list of teams that were stuck in neutral, (found http://bleacherreport.com/articles/360344-makeover-please-nba-rosters-that-need-a-new-look), they probably would have an automatic berth on that article if it were updated today.

When it comes to the Raptors, a lot of money has been spent on a squad whose chemistry never really clicked, whose toughness has been painfully lacking for yet another year, and who has underachieved beyond even the realistic expectations of a 4th or 5th seed in the East.

What's worse, the Raptors basically painted themselves into a corner while trying to convince Bosh to stay. 

That things have turned out so poorly, while also limiting the chances for meaningful change, should probably convince Chris Bosh to cash out early in Toronto and avoid recreating the career arc of Kevin Garnett's painfully frustrating first 12 seasons.

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So, with our second installment, we ask the question: "Where's the best place for Chris Bosh to wind up by the time this summer is over?" We answer in descending order:

1. Oklahoma City Thunder

The similarities between Chris Bosh and Kevin Garnett cannot simply be limited to the fact that they both have tirelessly labored for highly appreciative, but ultimately mismanaged franchises.

Both Bosh and Garnett have not only been blessed with freakish wingspan and leaping ability, but also with unparalleled athletic timing and work ethics. Both players are technically superior defensive anchors, who are also multi-dimensional offensive players as well. 

Unfortunately, there is an unquestionable amount of evidence that both are also only true No. 1 players until crunch time reveals that they really are more comfortable in the No. 1a category. When it comes down to it, both players have been most successful when they can rely on someone else to take the big shots and close the game.

Can you imagine an already loaded Thunder roster adding one of the game's best defensive big men? Can you imagine a team-first veteran like Bosh patrolling the boards, while steadying this upstart squad with his deadly mid-range jumper and finishing ability?

This would be the best destination for Chris Bosh by far. A starting lineup of Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Chris Bosh, and Nenad Kristic would have one of the highest ongoing ceilings in the league.

Keep in mind that Jeff Green would be the 6th Man and crunch time replacement for Kristic, since Bosh could spot time at Center. Then, Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison, and James Harden could fill out the rest of the rotation. 

Would you want to mess with that group next season? Didn't think so.

Are they a candidate to perennially win 60 games by adding a proven veteran superstar like Bosh? Absolutely.

Teaming up Chris Bosh with Kevin Durant is the type of no-brainer pairing that even a New York or New Jersey would have trouble providing. 

Kevin Garnett didn't get an opportunity to play with fellow stars who completed his game until the tail end of his career. How could Bosh or Oklahoma City pass up the chance to make things right, right now?

2. Chicago Bulls

While the 2008 Beijing Olympics are mostly remembered for LeBron's unparalleled finishes, Kobe Bryant's veteran clutchness, Carmelo Anthony's new-found motor, and Dwayne Wade's triumphant comeback, it's actually Chris Bosh's defense that has remained an enduring memory for me. 

Bosh not only was a steadying factor coming off the bench for the Americans, but he also was the glue guy who seemed to do all the little things at the exact right moment. 

While Bosh did provide timely post play on offense, it was his defensive communication, mobility, and technical perfection that unquestionably made him the most effective big man for the U.S. during the entire tournament.

Can you imagine pairing him with Joakim Noah and Luol Deng on the Chicago front line?  Would you want to try to score inside against that group?

Every single one of those guys is not only a fantastic one-on-one stopper, but a terrifying help defender as well!

Like the Thunder, the Bulls are another attractive fit for Bosh, since they are also already pre-built. 

Bosh would be able to blend into an offense without having to absolutely carry it. He would be able to concentrate on the strong points of his game, while deferring to a fellow star, Derrick Rose, for the big shots.

Chicago's lengthy and well-publicized search for post help would be more than adequately addressed with a Bosh signing. While he's more of a jump-shooter than a back-to-the-basket player, he would undoubtedly provide enough across the board to push the Bulls into the East's upper echelon.

3. New Jersey Nets

Kudos to the Nets for not only avoiding ignominy of historic proportions, but for actually putting together a decent stretch of basketball during their last dozen games or so. 

They are finally starting to back up a theme that I've been pushing all year—and that others are now beginning to pick up on: The Nets really aren't that bad. You can find that basic point http://bleacherreport.com/articles/364800-one-thing-needful-the-move-that-the-five-worst-teams-must-make#page/6, even as I was discussing how bad they really were during the body of this season.

While they certainly have major weak spots all over the roster—especially the ultra-shallow bench—the Nets have more than qualified building blocks in Devin Harris and Brook Lopez. 

Considering that Courtney Lee, Terrence Williams, Yi Jianlian, and Chris Douglas-Roberts are also realistic rotation players, the Nets at least have a starting point for all that cap space and a high draft pick.

I've had a few Nets fans disagree with my view that New Jersey would be wise to use the cap space now by adding a proven veteran on a max or near-max contract. Some have felt that, outside of landing LeBron or Dwayne Wade, New Jersey should be hoarding draft picks and cap space while trying to develop a young core.

Now, I'm not advocating that the Nets overspend on a second-tier player like Rudy Gay, but I don't think the Nets should avoid addressing a major roster need just because they might strike out on the summer's top two prizes. Because, chances are that they're going to.

So then what?

The Nets already have plenty of wing players to develop a useful platoon at the Small Forward spot. Where they really need help however, is at the Power Forward as Yi Jianlian has proven that, while still having some worth and upside, he's simply not a full-time starter.  

While I think that Carlos Boozer or Amar'e Stoudemire would provide the offensive leadership that the Nets lack, Chris Bosh would also be an extremely effective frontcourt mate for Brook Lopez.

Being that Bosh is the most well-rounded of the aforementioned trio, he absolutely should be on the Nets' shortlist. Drafting a big shot maker in the first round would allow Bosh to anchor the defense, provide timely offense and rebounding, and ultimately round out a suddenly respectable starting-5.

Of course, the question that must be answered is: Would Chris Bosh take the money to leave one disappointing situation just to go to another? 

New Jersey's chances for positive change might just be attractive enough to elicit a "yes."

Trust me on this one.  After all, I am a doctor.

- "Dr. Trade"

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