Well, I don’t think anyone saw THAT coming.
Yesterday’s blockbuster deal between Denver and Detroit showed that Pistons’ GM Joe Dumars was not simply talking out of his hat when he stated that "there are no sacred cows" on his roster. These words were of course uttered last spring when again the Pistons failed to advance to the NBA Finals, this time, losing to the Boston Celtics. However the whole trade is not exactly what many had anticipated when the rumour mill started to churn after the Pistons’ early playoff exit.
No, many assumed that Rasheed Wallace would be the first to go, and that Detroit would look to help shore up their athleticism by seeking out a swing-man to put alongside veterans Chauncey Billups, RIP Hamilton and co.
In fact the Pistons did make overtures towards Hawks restricted free-agent Josh Smith during the summer but were reneged when he re-signed with Atlanta. After only a handful of small changes (signing Kwame Brown, Will Bynum etc) it was generally assumed that Detroit would then lay-low until the following off-season.
But evidently Dumars had other ideas.
From a Nuggets fan’s perspective, you have to like this trade. The AI-Melo experiment just wasn’t working, the team desperately lacked a true play-maker at the 1 to bring out the best in Melo and others, and the team was stuck in salary cap hell. Now on paper there’s no reason this club shouldn’t be right back in the Western Conference playoff mix, regardless of what Antonio McDyess decides to do.
However from Detroit’s angle, I have to admit the trade puzzled me at first. As one of our readers put it in the comments section, why would you pair a player who needs the ball in his hands to be successful with four guys who need someone to facilitate their offensive execution? (And for me personally I had to ask, how does this trade affect Iverson’s fantasy numbers?)
The answer came later yesterday in an article by True Hoop’s Henry Abbott.
After the trade, Abbott blogged about the salary implications of the deal and how after Iverson comes off the books next summer, Detroit suddenly would have a lot of money to play with for both the summer of 2009, and the biggie in 2010, a point I never really considered initially. This means that even if Iverson doesn’t mesh well with Detroit this year, the team suddenly would have another $20 Million or so to play with for the banner class of free-agents in 2009 and perhaps even more change, depending on re-signings, for 2010.
And unfortunately this relates directly to Raptors’ fans as one of the biggest names on the list, is none other than Chris Bosh, the NBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Week for week one of the 2008-09 season.
From Henry’s post:
The two (free-agents) that jump out to me are, of course, Chris Bosh and LeBron James. They played together nicely on Team USA, and now Dumars can at least entertain the notion of signing not one of those two, but both.
More kindling to throw on Raptors’ fans "we can’t keep our top free agents" fire.
As if Raptors' fans weren't paranoid enough as is!
Michigan Live writer Pardeep Toor touched on this subject a few weeks ago and actually discussed a "Bosh to Detroit" possibility. And that was weeks before this Iverson trade went down!
Now Toor’s musings that perhaps Curry was hired to court Bosh in 2010 sound much less like the paranoid utterances of us Raptors’ fans and perhaps have some basis in reality. After all, Bosh has stated that Curry was his mentor as a rookie.
So let’s get something out of the way nice and early, three games into the 2008-09 season in fact; as Raptors’ fans, we’re going to have to deal with this "will Bosh leave" issue for the next too years and it will increase in frequency as we near the summer of 2010.
Take my word for it, it’s going to be more annoying than seeing Carter rediscover his career with the Nets, or T-Mac becoming the one of the league’s top stars after signing with the Magic.
No, it’s probably going to be more in the mould of "my ex-girlfriend dumped me a week ago and is now dating Chace Craword. And she just won Lotto 649."
However I decided last night that I’m not going to worry about it.
I’m not going to fret about CB4 looking to expand his regime ala Lebron, or jump to greener pastures like Vince Carter and there’s one reason why.
There isn’t another GM in the league that I’d rather have behind negotiations to keep Bosh as a) he’s already done it once and b) he’s structured the team around having a big amount of cap space as well for 2010. So who’s to say he doesn’t try and recruit a Wade or a Lebron himself?
The bottom line here is that if the Raptors can put together two big seasons before Bosh hits free-agency, and Colangelo continues to look to help his franchise player get the assistance he needs, well there’s not much else the Raptors’ organization can do, and therefore no sense in worrying. Bosh has the final say and if he really wants to head somewhere else, so be it. I trust that BC will recognize that fact early on and look to make moves to keep this franchise on the right course.
Besides, the teams that are worrying about getting a Lebron or Bosh in 2010 are also some of the league’s worst franchises. Memphis, New Jersey, New York, these three are all racing to get cap space for 2010 with some others like Atlanta and Minnesota hoping to tag along.
Does anyone think Bosh will take less money, leave a successful situation here in Toronto, one that keeps improving I might add, and head to these NBA nether-regions? Maybe New York is an option but at this stage of CB4’s career, I think he wants to win, not be stuck in mediocrity, no matter how big the market is.
Realistically I think teams like Miami, LA, and Dallas, aka the usual suspects, are the real threats in terms of their "player-allure" however few will be able to afford Bosh. And as for Detroit, I’m not an NBA player but I’ve spent time both there and obviously here in Toronto. It’s not a tough choice as to which one is more accommodating for an NBA player’s lifestyle.
Like the great Chuck D once said, "Don’t Believe the Hype."
So as Raptors’ fans, let’s try and put a latch on Pandora’s box right now. While I’m sure there will be lots of stories and rumours about Bosh’s impending exodus over the next 20 months, right now we’ve got a 3-0 start to focus on, and a game Wednesday night against this new look Pistons squad representing Toronto’s best test yet.
And besides, things could be a lot worse.
You could be a Cavs’ fan.