CHICAGO -- Chris Bosh's agent has told the Toronto Raptors that he's
narrowed his list of preferred teams to five, two sources told
ESPN.com's Chad Ford at the NBA Draft camp here.
The list of five
teams -- Toronto plus the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat
and New York Knicks, sources said -- were given to Toronto management
in case the Raptors want to construct a sign-and-trade deal (assuming he
doesn't re-sign with Toronto). Bosh likes that option, sources told
Ford, because he'd get one more year on his contract and could make more
Sources said the Raptors prefer a sign-and-trade if Bosh
is intent on leaving as well. They would likely want a big man to
replace the 6-10, 230-pound Bosh in the lineup.
One source said
Bosh's decision hinges on where LeBron James signs. "If LeBron decides
to go to either New York or Chicago, I think that's where you'll see
Chris land," the source told Ford. "If LeBron stays in Cleveland, I
think the process is more wide open."
The obvious good news is that the Bulls are on the list. Scratch Toronto off it, we know there's no real chance he's going there.
That leaves LA, Chicago, Miami, and New York.
Of these teams, New York is likely only a factor if LeBron ends up there. If not, he picked teams that he likely could win with.
Also, we can now ignore the idea that Bosh needs to be "the man" on the team he lands on since that wouldn't be the case with any of these teams except possibly the Bulls (if LeBron isn't there).
What remains to be seen in this is if Bosh is equally comfortable with any of these teams, or if he's simply narrowing down the list for now. If he's equally comfortable with any of them and it comes down to the S&T package then it gets interesting.
First, does LA really get into the mix? Bosh and Gasol are kind of redundant, and it's hard to envision trading Gasol for Bosh if you win two straight titles with Gasol, which I predict the Lakers will do. Would they trade Bynum for Bosh and play one of Gasol/Bosh at PF? Would Bynum really be attractive in a S&T package?
Bynum's interesting because he's a young stud big man, but he's never lived up to his hype, he's always hurt, and he makes a mint. He's young enough and has the body to still be a huge force in the future, but he also could continue to be overpaid by about 5 million a season too.
Bynum does fit their team needs perfectly though as he'd be an outstanding complement to Bargnani. I can easily make the case for or against Bynum, and if he stays healthy he's probably the best player they could get back even if he's expensive.
Miami really only has Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers to offer. Neither guy really holds much value at the moment, so I don't think they have anything that Toronto is interested in if they have control in the S&T process.
New York can offer up Gallinari or Chandler in a S&T, discussions about them offering David Lee are kind of silly because Lee isn't under contract. While a double S&T is certainly possible, I don't think one has ever happened in the NBA. It would mean that Toronto has to want Lee and pay him more than any other team is willing to pay him. That combination isn't very likely.
If NY has to give up Gallinari and/or Chandler it leaves the cubbard especially bare even if Bosh and Bron sign in NY. I think NYK's position is the same as I've thought for a long time, which is they either hit the super jackpot or they strike out entirely. Still, New York fans should be psyched. They're on his list, which means there's a chance that NY is a draw unto itself even if the team sucks.
The Bulls S&T prospects are more interesting if the Raptors are interested in Deng or Hinrich, otherwise they have to give up on James in order to get Bosh. I'd still probably do that and take the bird in the hand in Bosh unless I felt extraordinarily confident that James would sign with me.
If they use cap space (give up on James) then a deal of Gibson + whomever they take in the 2010 draft + charlotte 1st rounder is an appealing package. They're the only team that can offer up a potential lottery pick, because the Charlotte pick isn't going to hinge on how good Bosh's new team is. Any other team acquiring Bosh is going to expect to not have any worth while draft picks to throw into the equation.
From a value perspective, I think the Bulls offer is the strongest for a rebuilding team with the exception of the Lakers offering up Bynum and the Raptors deciding to take a flier on him. I'd probably not do that if I ran the team, but I could go either way on it.
The final interesting thing is simply looking at the teams not on the list. The Thunder, Rockets (and the rest of the Texas teams though the others didn't really have the assets), and Blazers were teams I thought might have enough talent to pull off a S&T and have teams that would be attractive for hi to go to. Not so apparently.