The talk now is that Chris Bosh is headed to Miami one way or another, but Franchise wonders if Raptors' fans shouldn't be hoping that New Jersey ends up being CB4's final destination...
Last year, the Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, in one of his regular mailbag columns, discussed the idea of a LeBron James "where am I going to play next year" type reality show with one of his readers.
At the time, the whole thing seemed like a pretty hilarious, albeit far-fetched idea. They envisioned James making like Flavor Flav and choosing from a host of suitors live on TV, and perhaps even having an under-card before the main event.
Well...yesterday basketball fans were treated to news that such an idea wasn't so far-fetched, as LeBron James will announce his decision during a one-hour special on ESPN tomorrow night at 9 PM EST.
Is this what things have been reduced to in 2010?
It seems to be the case.
However while James prepares for his monumental announcement, it's quite possible that the second biggest name in the free-agent drive, Dwyane Wade, is the one that comes out on top when all is said and done.
Wade appears ready and willing to return to Miami, and with Chris Bosh apparently not enthused about joining James in Cleveland, ESPN.com is reporting this morning that Bosh will become the Robin to Wade's Batman in Miami.
There haven't been any logistics as to what this deal would encompass as of yet, but this is hardly a "best-case-scenario" for Raptors fans in my books. Of the possible sign-and-trade options out there, I preferred the assets from teams like New Jersey, Houston and to a lesser extent, Chicago and even Cleveland.
The team essentially has two players under contract at the moment, neither of whom are that enticing, and even any draft picks sent to Toronto in a S&T would likely be later in the draft thanks to what appears to be a fairly dominant Heat squad being constructed by Pat Riley and co.
So now what?
Well unfortunately, if Bosh is indeed bound and determined to go to Miami, there's not much Raptors' GM Bryan Colangelo can do. He can attempt to play hard-ball regarding the assets he receives in return for Bosh's services, provided CB4 is bound and determined to take the max via a sign-and-trade, and not simply sign with Miami.
But even that doesn't guarantee the best return on investment, and really, as a Raptors fan, I think you need to hope that ESPN's "Bosh a lock to go to Miami" is premature.
In fact, I think ideally, you need to hope that LeBron is leaning towards heading to New Jersey (aka Future Brooklyn.) Then, instead of heading to Miami, Bosh decides he'd prefer to take his Robin act to the Nets to partner with LeBron, and frankly, superior assets like Devin Harris and Brook Lopez. A starting five of Harris, Courtney Lee, James, Bosh and Lopez would be pretty formidable, and the Nets still have some pieces they can bring in off the pine.
From a Raptors' perspective, New Jersey also has numerous assets that would be huge in helping this team rebuild from scratch with cheap, young talent.
Could a sign-and-trade be facilitated that would see newly drafted Derrick Favors (a true potential Bosh replacement down the road) and Damion James head to TO?
Or what about HQ favourite Terrence Williams, the aforementioned Lee, and/or expiring contracts mixed in?
Hell could the Raptors extricate themselves from some of their lengthier deals in such a scenario?
It's hard to say. But if Toronto came out of this free-agent fiasco with a core of DeMar DeRozan, Sonny Weems, Amir Johnson, Ed Davis, Solomon Alabi, Derrick Favors and Terrence Williams, that's not a bad start. And if Bryan Colangelo could jettison one of Jose Calderon or Hedo Turkoglu to really clear some space, all the better.
The problem, as pointed out by the National Post's Bruce Arthur yesterday, is that Bryan Colangelo only has one year left on his contract and no extension in hand. Does he really commit to a rebuild when it's quite possible that he won't be around to oversee it's completion, not to mention would likely have to deal with the fall-out next season?
That's the million dollar question we keep coming back to here.
For all the talk of dynamiting things, how realistic is that considering the team's General Manager appears to be loathe to admit too much wrongdoing regarding past transactions? If Colangelo thinks he can bring back pieces resulting in a short-term win, like a return to the playoffs, won't he go in that direction?
As Raptors' fans, I think you've gotta hope that's not the case. That approach was attempted the past three seasons and we've seen the results.
In fact isn't that why the team is in this current situation? Short-term play after short-term play by BC has dug a hole too deep to easily climb out of without taking a back-hoe to the entire landscape.
A sign-and-trade scenario with New Jersey would indeed be that back-hoe.
However it remains to be seen if Colangelo is prepared to put on his hard-hat and get behind the wheel.