The Highest Rate of Return (Part 1)

Bosh Doing SomethingNow, when I started this list, I hadn’t read any others out there, but now everyone seems to be writing these, so it’s not nearly as original as I was hoping.

A while ago, I tried to predict which team Chris Bosh would, and should, choose this summer. Recently, it came to light that Chris Bosh and his agent either gave Bryan Colangelo a list of the five teams he will want to choose from (Toronto WAS on the list), or not, depending on who you believe. Personally, I don’t know what to believe, but even if there is a list, I certainly don’t think it’s definitive. I think that other teams will try and woo him and there’s a chance he may go elsewhere.

Now, I have absolutely no clue where Bosh will end up, but that’s not going to stop me from joining the speculation train. Obviously, the best thing for the Raptors is for Bosh to want to go to a team that is either not under the cap, or a team that is under the cap, but still might want to clear more salary. That way, the Raptors would be in a better position to negotiate to get talent back. I’ve left out teams like Utah or Golden State, that could use Bosh and put together a great package, but would be very unlikely Bosh would choose to go to. So here are the top ten teams I would choose for Bosh to go to and who I would ask for in return.

10. Miami

This is the last place Raptor fans should want Bosh to go to. About the only player they have to offer is Beasley, who might very well be the absolute worst fit for the Raptors. He doesn’t play defense and isn’t a very good rebounder. Actually, scratch that, he’d fit right in on the Raptors front line.

Mario Chalmers isn’t a bad defensive PG, but he’s certainly not starting quality. When he might be the best asset to get back, that’s not a good sign.

Some fans like the idea of getting the 1st round draft pick from the O’Neal-Marion trade back. That would be nice, but it just seems like these are the same types of people that pine after their ex-girlfriends/ex-boyfriends even after they’ve gotten married and had kids. Quite frankly, if Bosh goes to Miami, it’s likely Miami won’t see that conditional pick in a while, anyway.

Miami does have all it’s first round draft picks over the next few years, but if Bosh and Wade play together, just how good are those picks going to be?

And if he really wants to go there, he could just sign outright and the Raptors would get back nothing.

9. New Jersey

New Jersey isn’t on Bosh’s apparent list of teams, but I think it should be. And I think they will probably attempt to make a push for him.

While the Nets didn’t get the number one, or even number two, pick, they are still in good shape. They have a borderline All Star at PG, one of the best promising young centers in the game and they have enough cap room to sign a max free agent outright and still have enough left over to sign another good free agent.. What they don’t have are a lot of pieces to send back in a sign and trade, though.

Without no chance of drafting Wall, Harris is probably set at PG, so the only other players the Nets will probably offer to send back are Yi Jianlian (who is a PF that doesn’t rebound or play defense well- no thanks), and three good young shooting guards in Courtney Lee, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Terrence Williams. Of course, they are incredibly similar to the Raptors three good young shooting guards. In other words, there’s really nothing the Raptors need or could even use.

8. Dallas

Now, I never mentioned Dallas in my list of teams Bosh would or could choose, mostly because I see it as a longshot. Bosh is an awful fit beside Dirk, and I can’t see them wanting to switch Bosh for Dirk. Nonetheless, it’s a destination that is sometimes mentioned because Bosh is from Dallas and because they are probably going to make big changes after crashing and burning out in the first round. Plus, if Dirk ends up leaving they will need to find a way to replace him.

They have a fair number of pieces they could offer in a sign and trade, but few young players the Raptors could use. Their top 7 rotation players are all at least 29 years old. The Raptors could try and bring in a third team to try and pawn off some of their veteran talent, but otherwise, bringing in veteran players on the Raptors is only going to keep them a mediocre team.

Some Raptor fans are high on Rodrigue Beaubois, but he’s really a big unknown, playing only 12 mpg with the Mavericks this past season, and has not shown any ability whatsoever to run a team (3.8 apg/36 mpg). Besides him, the Mavericks have no one the Raptors could use to build for the future.

The one player that probably has the most value would be Erick Dampier and his expiring contract. Now, I’ve already discussed that expiring contracts are not going to be nearly as valuable next year as they have in the past, but what makes Dampier’s contract so special is that the final year, in which he makes $13 million, is not guaranteed. What this means is that the Raptors could turn around and trade Dampier to a team wanting immediate cap relief. Could this be used in a trade for Elton Brand and whoever they pick at #2, if the rumours are to be believed that they are willing to include their pick to anyone that takes Brand off their hands. It’s always dangerous to take a player in a trade you have no intention of keeping, so Colangelo would probably want to bring in another team immediately and do a three team trade like he did when he signed Turkoglu. What makes it more thought provoking is that teams tend to deal with the same teams over and over again, and Colangelo has done deals with both Dallas and Philadelphia.

Blogger’s Note:

In the last 7 years, the Mavericks have lost in the first round four times, despite having home court advantage every single year.  In the last 7 years, they have become the first #1 seed to lose against a #8 seed  in a 7 game series (3rd all-time) and the first #2 seed to lose to a #7 seed in a 7 game series (5th all-time). And they are only one of three teams in NBA history to lose in the Finals after being up 2-0. During that time, only one player has remained the same: Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk’s best year in the league, the year he won MVP, his Mavericks lost in the first round to Golden State. At what point do you think Cuban and Nelson realize that this simply is never going to work, no matter how different pieces you try and throw together?

7. New York

I’ve never been a fan of doing a sign and trade with New York and at one point saw it as the worst option but not anymore. One problem is that the Knicks play in the same division as the Raptors and letting your best player go to a division rival is like having your ex-girlfriend move next door. It’s not a good scenario.

And there was a lot of talk about them sending back David Lee. I can’t stress what a bad idea this is. Lee is a good rebounder, and was one of only 4 players in the league to average 20-10 (Bosh, Howard and Randolph were the others). Unfortunately, he doesn’t play a lick of defense and there is a real question of how much he would score in a system not designed inflate a player’s stats.

Bloggers Note: If I was an owner, the last guy I would ever hire to be my coach would be Mike D’Antoni. His teams don’t play defense, there’s there’s virtually no chance of winning a Championship, but because of the style of play, his players all score and rebound more than they would in any other system. So in other words, players end up looking far better than they actually are, which means you have to pay a premium to keep them, but you still don’t win a Championship.

It’s not as if New York has nothing to send back. Wilson Chandler, Toney Douglas and Bill Walker are all good, young role players who I think would help the Raptors. AND they play defense. Unfortunately none of them really have star potential and the Knicks have given away so many first round picks that getting any back is unlikely.

A lot of Raptor fans seem to like the idea of getting back Gallinari, but I’m not sure he’s the best player to get back. He’s talented, but he’s not a good rebounder or defensive player, and hasn’t that been a problem all year for the Raptors? Besides, I think New York would want to hold onto him.

Now a scenario that is being discussed more and more is to send a bad contract, like Turkoglu with Bosh to New York. This would be the only intriguing thing about a sign and trade with New York. It would allow the Raptors to basically forget about making the mistake of signing Turkoglu last summer. No, one one wants Eddy Curry on their roster, but having Curry for one year is no doubt better than having Turkoglu for four. Especially if Turkoglu is the problem he was off the court this past year.

Now if the Raptors end up getting Chandler, Douglas and Douglas as well as a nice big trade exception, as well as get rid of Turkoglu and his contract, I wouldn’t be all that disappointed.

6. Chicago

Chicago was not only on this apparent list of Bosh’s, but it makes the most sense. Even if no other free agent joins him in Chicago, they’ll still be a good team. The one thing they lack (inside scoring) is what he can bring. And if they sign another free agent, they’ll be an instant contender.

Now, it’s not that Chicago doesn’t have pieces to offer. They have a few. Deng, while vastly overpaid, would immediately become the Raptors best player and Hinrich, while also overpaid, is a good outside shooter and gritty defender. Getting one of those players, as well as Taj Gibson, would pretty good talent to get back. And if they have draft picks they could send back, too.

There are problems, though. First of all, Deng really is vastly overpaid and is also injury prone, plus he plays the same position as one of the Raptors other overpaid players, Turkoglu. I’m not sure you want to spend $24 million on one position and not have LeBron James playing that position. And Hinrich, while the type of player the Raptors need, is going to be 30 years old next season, and would be much more valuable on another team. And any picks they get will probably be low first rounders.

The worst thing, though, is what MIGHT happen. If Bosh and LeBron both decide to sign in Chicago, The Bulls will be unstoppable for the next 5-6 years, at the very least. They’ll end up giving Jordan’s Bulls a run for their money for number of Championships.

The only silver lining would be that there would be a chance, no matter how slim, that the Bulls could end up sending Joakim Noah back if they want both Bosh and LeBron. Here’s the question, though. Would you agree to send Bosh and Bargnani in exchange for Deng, Noah, Gibson and Hinrich?

Next Monday, I’ll continue….

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