Members of the HQ team give their thoughts on the end of an era in Toronto...and on the new one that is set to begin with the signing of Linas Kleiza...
It's fitting that I woke this morning to news that with the Humidex it will feel like 41 degrees outside in Toronto today.
Yes, the expression "hot as hell" did flash through my mind and that seems apropos for a few reasons:
1) Yesterday Chris Bosh decided to take his act to Miami for next season, an NBA environment often lauded for its desirable climate, especially compared to Toronto.
2) In the wake of Bosh's departure, it's quite possible that fans of the Toronto Raptors are about to enter an era of basketball that may indeed resemble hell.
3) And, it might feel like 41 degrees outside to most of us, but to Bryan Colangelo, the architect of what right now looks to be a 28 win team next season, it probably feels a lot closer to 106.
And rightfully so.
Colangelo paraded into Toronto on a platform of playoff success promises, armed with a perennial All-Star, loads of cap space and the top overall pick in the draft...and in four years somehow managed to put the franchise behind where it was when he rolled into town.
These are the more blatant examples of transactions made by BC that simply did not work, we're not even getting into the Andrea Bargnani's or DeMar DeRozan's which still look shaky.
This was supposed to be one of the top five most savvy minds in all of basketball yet under his watch he's developed nary an All-Star (Bosh was pre BC tenure), has managed to tie the team's hands financially, and has done something possibly more egregious, as pointed out by colleague Bruce Arthur of the National Post; potentially handing a team a dynasty, something that won't go over well with rival GM's.
Again, to a point Howland made last week:
"I'm pretty sure Rob Babcock could have done this."
I'm guessing we'll get an idea of just how much work Colangelo has to do later this evening when LeBron James ends his "which team should I choose" saga. If he chooses Miami, then suddenly Toronto's sign-and-trade options are probably out the window as Bosh (and probably the other two as well) will have to take less money to make sure the Heat can fill out their roster.
It's not a pretty scene for Toronto Raptors fans, losing Bosh equates to about 12 wins a year according to Dave Berri's "Wages of Wins" site and considering Toronto only won 40 last year...
That's why it's a good thing that Bryan Colangelo is doing his damnedest to replace Bosh and as of minutes ago, Yahoo Sports is reporting that the Raptors will sign free-agent forward Linas Kleiza to a four-year $20M offer sheet.
Who needs Bosh's 12 wins a year on average when you can get Kleiza's 0.7 right?!
I just don't get it.
I like Kleiza, but for the mid-level essentially? And what about the likes of Travis Outlaw and Ronnie Brewer, players with skill-sets that this team desperately needs? Did management even consider these types?
The Raptors are announcing the Amir Johnson signing today at 1 but I'm not even sure I can bring myself to go down to the ACC and participate. Much like the Ed Davis and Solomon Jones announcements, I'm guessing there will be very little time dedicated to asking Colangelo what the hell happened with Bosh, so I think I'll keep my recorder in pocket until Vegas next week.
Maybe by then I'll have cooled off a bit, both in terms of my thoughts towards the mis-management of this team, and in terms of this heat-wave Toronto is currently experiencing on various levels.
I'll leave it at that this morning, and give my co-anchor Howland the final word on the legacy of Chris Bosh, a player I'm hoping fans realize simply did in the end what everyone else would have done had they been in a similar situation.
As everyone waits for LeBron James to announce his intentions tonight at 9 PM on ESPN we didn't think it was appropriate to let another day go by before talking about Chris Bosh at least once more.
Unless you have been hiding under a rock or you are focused entirely on the World Cup you know by now that Toronto's franchise player has decided to uproot and leave the only team he has ever known. Sunny South Beach has called and Mr. Bosh has answered.
You can try and analyse his decision to leave countless ways. If it was a decision based on weather then of course it made sense. If it was purely a basketball decision it also made sense. If it was all about "winning", as Bosh has suggested countless times ,there didn't seem to be much choice either.
Now Toronto is left with a gaping hole in its front court and the face of the franchise is now...well....we're not sure exactly.
Make no mistake, yesterday was a bad day for the Toronto Raptors franchise and for Toronto Raptors fans. The team, and the city, lost the best basketball player it has ever had and that player is just reaching his prime.
You can definitely argue that Bosh could have dealt with this free-agency circus in a more professional manner but you can't argue with what he managed to do in the time he wore the Raptors jersey.
Coming into the league Bosh was a lanky PF who had a lot of growing to do as a player and questions were quickly being asked about his ability to put on weight, develop a consistent jumper and become a leader. The pressure to become great was amplified when a certain someone whined his way out of town and fans were looking for someone to lessen the sting.
Bosh answered the bell.
Look at his body when he entered the league and compare it to today...actually it is not comparable. As he grew as a man his offensive game grew as well. Over time he has become a dominant power forward with a refined and somewhat unique skill set. He also embraced the challenge of being this team's leader on and off the court. Was or is he a great leader? Probably not but he had no choice but to lead the players around him.
So to Chris Bosh - Thanks. You made the past seven years of Raptors basketball watchable. In times of Omar Cook, Loren Woods and Rafer Alston you were the shining light. We applaud you for your efforts while in Toronto and wish you the best in Miami.
If your departure tells Raptors fans anything it is this - despite being told the contrary this team is "a long way off."