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Changing Focus

The effects of short term thinking.....

The effects of short term thinking.....

As always, there has been some great debate on the future of CB4 in Toronto.

Trade him?

Appease him?

Build around him?

Whatever your views on the situation, we all must acknowledge and recognize, for better or worse, this is an issue that will hang over this franchise like a dark cloud until finally resolved either by trade or signing of an extension.

Franchise and I have come to be on the same page in regards to CB4 which is unusual to say the least. If this summer BC offers him an extension (at a fair price) and he declines, then the Legomaster needs to extract as much value as he can from the situation by dealing Bosh sooner rather than later.

The alternative? Spend an off-season trying to plug all the holes in this leaky vessel of a franchise no matter the cost.

If the decision is made to keep CB4 the pressure will be on Colangelo to fix the situation in Toronto in a hurry. By not signing an extension, or even indicating that he is happy here in Toronto (circa Lebron), Bosh is sending a strong message to the Raptors brass – fix this situation, convince me otherwise, or watch me walk.

This puts BC in a bit of a bind. As a General Manager of a franchise your job is to make decisions that are in the best interest of the franchise both in the short term and long term. Finding a balance is difficult. In some cases teams are willing to go for broke (see Miami with Shaq) but the teams with the most success have general managers to can see the forest beyond the trees.

With the threat of losing Bosh for nothing, or less than equal value, is BC now going to be forced to abandon a long term plan and make decisions solely based on the season ahead? Doesn't Bosh's unwillingness to ante-up now force Colangelo to focus solely on the short term, no matter what the cost to the long term?

There are a number of things that need to be addressed before this team can find itself in contention. The laundry list is a long one and we all know what's on it from rebounding to slashing. Given this long list of needs, addressing them all over one summer seems like a bit of a reach. That being said, if you have to catch lightening in a bottle this upcoming season to convince your best player to stay you have no choice other than attempt to do so. This undoubtedly changes how decisions are made.

For example, look at the draft. Each year teams debate what approach to take with that year's crop of prospects. Do you take the best available player/prospect or do you take the guy who can contribute right away? Do you draft for need or just take the best player? If Colangelo has one season to turn this team around doesn't he have to take a guy who can contribute right away and who fits a need even if that might not be the best player available? I am not sure this is the best way to approach a draft (aka Hoffa). Besides, there are few rookies who can come into the league and contribute at a high level right away. It takes time for most of these prospects to develop and blossom into quality NBA players.

This undue pressure to make things right over one summer will also have an impact on free-agency dealings. Suddenly the team's willingness to overpay is much greater, even if the long term cap consequences are damaging. Signing a guy for multiple years in hopes of ensuring one year of success is a steep price to pay.

Let's use the Shawn Marion situation as a example. At the end of the year the Raps won a few games, albeit against lesser opponents. The message being sent out by the players and management was that the team, as assembled, was not that far off. Marion however, made no indication that Toronto was a place he wanted to re-sign, let alone at a reduced price tag. So here's a player whose numbers have been on a steady and steep decline since being dealt from Phoenix. The drop in numbers has not only been a result of playing in a different system but undoubtedly stems from the fact that he has played over 750 games in his career and is 31 heading into this upcoming season. Nevertheless, the team started to gel with him. Even if the team is right in that together they could be a player in next years playoffs, is this a guy who you want to lock-up for 3 plus seasons given his age, mileage, and contract demands? If you are trying to ensure next season is a success
you are likely willing to make a deal. If you are thinking longer term wouldn't a guy like Trevor Ariza (by way of example) make more sense given his age, abilities and upside?

These are the decisions Colangelo has to face this summer and I for one don't envy the position he is in. The moves this team makes this summer will, more than any other, shape the future of this team both in the long term and the short term. At the end of the day however, with no guarantee that Bosh won't walk no matter how successful this upcoming campaign is, wouldn't the most prudent decision be to secure the long term viability of the franchise by dealing No.4?

I think so.