While every team with tons of cap space will be targeting LeBron James and Dwyane Wade as the main prizes in the much anticipated 2010 offseason, Chris Bosh will not be a terrible Plan B. The Raptors free agent has emerged into one of the most talented and versatile big men in the NBA. This past season, he set career-highs in points and rebounds per game, as well as field goal percentage.
While Bosh's name has been linked to possibly ending up in the same spot as LeBron or Wade, Bosh has stated time and time again that he wants to go some place where he can be the alpha dog and not the No. 2 option. Teams have a decision to make this offseason; put all their eggs in the LeBron or Wade sweepstakes and possibly miss out on landing Bosh, or make Bosh their top priority from the get-go to prove he is the player they covet.
Chicago Bulls (25% chance)
I think the Bulls would be better off pursuing a two-guard like Wade to pair with Derrick Rose in the backcourt, but Chicago could use a star power forward with offensive firepower to pair up front with Joakim Noah. Whoever signs with the Bulls will be in a better situation than New York or New Jersey, which is why it seems to be a great big market destination for Bosh.
If Bosh did head to Chicago, the Bulls would have a starting five of Rose, Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng, and Noah with Taj Gibson, James Johnson and the No. 17 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. Plus, they would still have about $8 million left in cap space to find a true starting two guard and fill out their bench. That seems to be a better situation than joining one of the re-building projects. Although in order for this scenario to happen, Bosh would have to be okay sharing the alpha dog role with Rose.
New York Knicks (20% chance)
I don't think the Knicks are going to land LeBron or Wade. Therefore, Bosh and/or Joe Johnson seem to be the most likely marquee free agents to head to the Big Apple since New York has enough cap space to sign a pair of max value free agents. The biggest catch to Bosh or any other major free agent signing with the Knicks is heading up the re-building process since New York only has four players under contract for next season. Plus, will exhausting their efforts to try and land LeBron or Wade deter Bosh from coming to New York since he would clearly be a Plan C? Bosh would likely get his wish of being the alpha dog unless Wade, James or Johnson was signed. Still, the allure of being the face of the Knicks make them one of the most attractive destinations.
New Jersey Nets (20% chance)
This fit makes sense because the Nets are in need of a long-term solution at power forward to pair with their blossoming center, Brook Lopez. Plus, Bosh could come to Jersey and be the go-to guy. Let's play the "what if" game:
Scenario #1: The Nets land the first pick and take John Wall. That makes Devin Harris expendable so you can trade him for a valuable piece. That means you have Wall, Lopez, Bosh, Terrence Williams, Courtney Lee, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Yi, Kris Humphries, the 27th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, the piece you get in exchange for Devin Harris, and about $17 million left in cap space. Not bad.
Scenario #2: The Nets end up picking second and take Evan Turner. You have Harris, Turner, Lopez, Bosh, Lee, Williams, Douglas-Roberts, Yi, Humphries, the 27th pick and about $17 million left in cap space. Again, not bad.
Toronto Raptors (15% chance)
The Raptors are in a power position so to speak since they can off Bosh more money than any other team. However, The Raps have tied up a ton of money in long-term deals for Hedu Turkoglu, Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon so their roster is not exactly flexible in terms of adding better pieces to put around Bosh which will be required since their current team finished below .500 this past season. With that current core in tact, can GM Bryan Colangelo convince Bosh that they have a winning team built for the future?
Bosh was quoted as saying he felt "some tweaks would have to be made" for him to believe the franchise is heading in the right direction. But with a few bad contracts eating up any cap flexibility, a trade would have to be made and it seems unlikely that Toronto could get anything of serious value in return for Calderon or Turkoglu. Yet as we too frequently learn, money does talk in professional sports which is why I don't drop the Raptors' chances of bringing Bosh back.
Miami Heat (15% chance)
The most likely scenario for this happening is the Heat re-signing Wade and then convincing Bosh to come along. I don't see Bosh wanting to come to Miami if he has to replace Wade as the go-to guy even with all the remaining cap space Miami would have. If I am Wade, I try every trick in the book to make this union happen in South Beach. The Heat would still have about $9-10 left in cap space and the 18th pick to fill out their roster in addition to the dynamic duo of Wade and Bosh. However, Miami would then probably have to find a trade partner for Michael Beasley unless they feel Bosh and Beasley could play in the same frontcourt. But that would only help the Heat fill their other areas of need like finding a point guard or true center.
Oklahoma City Thunder (3% chance)
This goes against everything Bosh has said about wanting to be the alpha dog, but it has to be intriguing. Imagine a nucleus of Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Bosh for the next several years. It is scary to think how dangerous that team would be out west for the next five or so years. Oklahoma City is unlikely, but nevertheless needs to be at least considered for a minute if you are Bosh.
Washington Wizards (1% chance)
They have the cap space and are desperately in need of a main guy to take the pressure off Gilbert Arenas. However, their franchise is in such flux that Bosh would really have to sell out to go to the district.
The Field (1% chance)
This group includes the Clippers, Kings and Timberwolves. I am more likely to be a top 10 pick in this year's NBA Draft than Bosh is to sign with either of these teams.