The Rumor That Could Change Everything

Chris Bosh and LeBron JamesScott already touched on this briefly in this morning’s edition of While We’re Waiting, but I wanted to expand on this a little bit. This rumor is going to send shockwaves around the NBA, particularly in any city that houses an NBA title contender. In case you’re unaware of what we’re talking about, according to ESPN’s Stephen A Smith, Chris Bosh has informed the Toronto Raptors’ GM Bryan Colangelo that he will not be re-signing with the Raptors when he becomes a free agent in 2010.

This is a decision that can have a profound impact on the Cavaliers in so many different ways. I think it’s safe to guess that ESPN’s Trade Machine is about to get an insane number of hits as fans throughout the NBA try to figure out ways their teams can get their hand on Bosh. But does this really mean the Raptors will trade Bosh?  

There are a couple different ways to look at this. First and foremost, it’s important to remember this is a rumor. Stephen A Smith also said a while back that he knew first hand that LeBron James had definitely already decided he was going to New York in 2010. It’s more than possible that this rumor is a similar jump to a conclusion by SAS. It’s entirely possible that this was just Bosh speaking out of frustration. The Raptors made off season moves that they felt were putting themselves into position to contend in the Eastern Conference this year. Instead, they are currently 19-30 and in dead last in the Atlantic Division. They are 21 games behind Boston, and they are 4 games behind Milwaukee for the 8th spot in the East. The Raptors have the 2nd worst record in the East and the 4th worst record in the entire NBA. Everyone in the Raptors organization is bewildered and frustrated. So it’s possible that Bosh merely voiced his frustration to Colangelo and said something along the lines “If you don’t get this team turned around by next year, I’m out of here.” We just don’t know.

But lets pretend it is indeed true. Lets assume for a minute that Bosh really has told Colangelo that he will not stay in Toronto. Now what does Colangelo do? The obvious assumption is that he tries to trade him immediately. But I’m not so sure.

The Raptors have some really good players on their team. It is inexcusable that they have played so poorly this year. Jose Calderon, when healthy, is an elite PG. Jamario Moon has slipped a bit this year, but he’s still a more than capable SF. Anthony Parker is another player who has regressed this year, but still has a lot of talent. Colangelo could decide to just trade Jermaine O’Neal now for an expiring contract to free up $22 million in cap space and go after the absolute best player available this off season in an attempt to make one last run with Bosh next year. Then, if things aren’t working out next year, he could still trade Bosh at that time. Besides, nothing is ever permanent. Just because Bosh says he’s leaving now, that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t change his mind if Colangelo can put together a contender next year. You just never know.

In the case of Colangelo trying to trade Bosh now, though, you know Danny Ferry and the Cavaliers will be frothing at the mouth at the chance to get Bosh on the team now. Imagine that. Not only will the team who acquires Bosh be getting a franchise player, they will also be getting his Bird rights and will be able to exceed the salary cap to re-sign him in 2010. Safe to say, this potential trade is huge for the balance of power in the NBA, not just for the next year and a half, but for the future as well. You have to assume that whoever gets his services will be the odds on favorite to sign him in 2010. Beyond that, whichever team gets Bosh and his Bird Rights may be in the best position to sign LeBron James as well in 2010 should LeBron decide to leave Cleveland. Any trade of Bosh is going to have massive implications for the entire league.

Here’s the problem for the Cavaliers, though. There’s no way Colangelo trades him for just the cap space. You don’t trade a guy like Bosh and not make sure you’re getting young talent with potential in exchange. If Chris Bosh doesn’t want to be in Toronto right now, what’s to say any of the other big free agents in 2009 or 2010 will want to go there, either? Especially without Bosh there. It’s similar to if LeBron leaves Cleveland. Will the Cavs be able to replace him right away with a different marquee superstar? It seems pretty unlikely.

So the Raptors will want players they can build around. I’ve been playing around with the Trade Machine trying to find anything that will work for the Cavaliers. Salary-wise, Bosh for Szczerbiak works, but there is absolutely no way that would ever happen. So you have to add some guys going to Toronto. One trade that works salary-wise is Chris Bosh, Andrea Bargnani, and Jason Kapono to Cleveland for JJ Hickson, Anderson Varejao, Wally Szczerbiak, and Sasha Pavlovic, along with the Cavs first round draft pick. This gives the Raptors some young guys with some ability in Hickson and Varejao. It gives them a versatile SG in Pavlovic. It also gives them both financial flexibility and future cap space. They can choose to re-sign Varejao if they want him, or they can let his contract expire and take the cap space. Same with Pavlovic next year. Hickson can be a guy to give them solid contributions for years to come. It allows the Raptors to also get rid of a couple under-performing players in Bargnani and Kapono.

It’s not the greatest trade in the world for Toronto, but it’s about the only trade that I could see even being remotely close to acceptable for the Raptors. The problem with this trade is two-fold. First of all, the Raptors can get way better deals from Miami, Dallas, and New York. The Heat can send guys like Daequan Cook and Shawn Marion to Toronto. The Mavericks can move a Josh Howard. The Knicks can send over players like David Lee and Al Harrington. The reason these teams can afford to send better players than Cleveland can is because those teams aren’t contending for a title this year.

Sure, the Cavaliers could offer guys like Mo Williams, Daniel Gibson, or Delonte West, but the Cavs are in the midst of a Championship run here. That’s the 2nd problem with any proposed trade with Toronto. Can the Cavaliers really afford to lose all those guys from a team with the 2nd best record in the East right now? I don’t know. A starting lineup of Mo Williams, Delonte West, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas is pretty formidable to say the least. But then the bench would only consist of Daniel Gibson, Tarence Kinsey (assuming he is able to return), Ben Wallace, Lorenzen Wright, Darnell Jackson, Jason Kapono, and Andrea Bargnani. It’s an interesting mix of players, but how would the chemistry work? This raises so many questions.

I really don’t think the Raptors would consider accepting this or any trade from the Cavaliers, but if by chance they would, I think the Cavaliers would have to do it. Yes, you may be throwing this year’s team off a little bit, but they would have the chance to keep Bosh and LeBron together for the next 10 years, and that’s a situation you just don’t say no to.

So once again, we turn it over to you, our readers. What would you do? Can you come up with a trade scenario that works with the Trade Machine? Perhaps a 3 team trade where Wally goes to a team looking for cap space, and then that team sends a good young player to Toronto, and Bosh comes to Cleveland? See what you can come up with and let us know.

  • Boomhauer

    Toronto’s not trading Bargini. He’s finally starting to play better this year.
    As far as Bosh’s “Bird Rights”, I think if a player gets traded, those disappear, but I could be wrong.

  • IRB?

    Today must be “use the word everything in every article title day”.

    I challenge you writers to keep this trend (of two articles) up for the rest of the day.

  • RandyOSU

    Cavs have too much chemistry to make a block buster trade. And Toronto isn’t looking to take a bunch of junk for Bosh, even PR wise. Odds are they will play their best card and “hope” the lure of 30 extra million dollars will keep Bosh in Toronto. The Cavs will sit back in the catbird’s seat with all of the expiring cap space and make a play for one of the big boys after Lebron commits on his extension. That just may be enough to attract Bosh on his own, if not one of the other marquee alternatives.

    Don’t look for any of this to happen until the deadlines approach, which is next year.

  • Scott

    How about this one?

    [Bosh to Cleveland…]

  • Scott

    “which is next year.”

    Isn’t it always?

  • bobby

    Cavs: Wally and 1st round pick to Miami, Sasha to Toronto
    Miami: Marion to Toronto

  • RockKing

    @Boomhauer: no, Bird rights go with the player. You get Bird Rights when you play 3 consecutive seasons without being waived or changing teams via free agency. But with trades, you keep your qualifying status.

    @Scott: Fascinating. It could ALMOST work.

  • bobby

    oops.. to follow up on mine, itd be
    Toronto sending bosh here and kapono to miami

  • jcm

    There’s no way Toronto trades Bosh, and there’s no way he doesn’t re-sign with them. There’s far too much money at stake. If Bosh leaves Toronto, it will be after he signs a max extension, gets frustrated, and forces a trade.

  • bridgecrosser

    Folks, you’re giving up Hickson, Gibson, (Wally for salary purposes) and probably 2 #1 picks for Bosh… Colangelo is very shrewd….. This is not the Grizzle. (Personally I don’t believe the rumor).

  • bridgecrosser

    That ad with Bob Dylan has forced me to mute the PC… trying to work here.

  • bridgecrosser

    UPDATE: Would you do this?:
    Bosh, Kapono for Wally, Gibson, Hickson, and #1 pick in 2010 & 2012. There would be no guarantee Bosh would re-sign after next season.

    I think salaries have to match up 85%, so Bosh (14.411,000) & Kapono (5,785,000) = 20,196,000. 85% of that = 17,167,000. We’d give Wally (13,000,000), Gibson (3,700,000) and Hickson (1,300,000) = 18,000,000.

    I say you do it.

  • Gabriel

    considering Ferry’s track record, a three team trade is very likely. he seems to have mastered it. and in some trades, he seems to have totally robbed the other two teams while giving up nearly nothing in return. if it happens at all, it will not be just a Toronto/Cleveland trade. it will be Toronto/Cleveland/?????. Maybe the Clippers would want to relieve some of that logjam in the front court and be willing to part with someone like Kaman plus a few to go to Toronto to give them at least one product young big. We’d send the Clips Wally and Sasha, and the Raptors would give us Bosh? no matter what, Toronto would end up getting screwed in any deal with Cleveland. if they trade bosh, they’d send him elsewhere. don’t get me wrong though, i’d love to see it happen.

  • Swig

    If LeBron gives that his seal of approval (since it involves trading Gibson) I would agree fairly quickly. Although I would rather see Varejo and Gibson because there is no guarantee Andy resigns with us. Losing Andy and Hickson would seriously deplete our front court.

  • Danny

    I hope he goes to Miami- that way, the Knicks can only sign Amare to bring Lebron to NY….which let’s be honest, won’t happen. If Bosh goes to Miami, Wade and Bosh will resign there, and Lebron will likely pass up the opportunity to rebuild in New York. I think if the Knicks landed Bosh, that would be a nice fit for Lebron. I don’t think Lebron would have any interest going to New York and playing the run and gun with Amare.

    I think Marion,Cook and Beasly works for Bosh, Kopono, and a scrub off the bench

  • mgbode

    AV/Hickson/Wally/09 1st

    They get young big guys to build around (and Colangelo is not giving up Bargnani guys).

    We get Bosh and also Parker who can be a distributor off the bench and plays pretty decent D and can hit some 3’s.

    And I do this despite that I love Hickson and think he will be very good….but he is not Chris Bosh.

  • Jay

    I think the chemistry is too good with the players on this team to get rid of that many for one. I know Bosh is an upper echelon player, but I think the Cavs should hold off until 2010 to try and lure him here. I think giving up Boobie, Varejao, JJ, and even Sasha at this point, would seriously knock this team off track.

  • whipjacka

    @swig, but we would be gaining bosh in the front court.

  • AC

    talk about this big 3: Lebron, Bosh, Mo Williams


  • Brian

    I agree with Jay — keep the team as is for now and see how the rest of the year plays out. The Cavs have put together a team that can close out games unlike any we’ve had in a long time and I think messing with that in the short term would be a mistake.

  • Brian

    Also, while very cool, the trade machine doesn’t seem to take much into consideration…? Wally for Bosh, Deal!

  • whipjacka

    If Dallas becomes sellers, and we are allowed to trade snow, and if ferry was great, and if god could perform a miracle.

  • whipjacka
  • Brendon

    I’m not big on giving up Hickson.

  • Danny

    Kobe wanted traded last year but the deal of Damon Jones, Larry Hughes, Ira Newble, and Shannon Brown just wasn’t enough for the Lakers…………remember that when you are giving trade ideas for Bosh

  • Jason

    @ whipjacka – giving up 5 players?? GAH!

  • Swig

    I’m not big on giving up Hickson.

    Hmmm, lets keep a young developing player who doesn’t realistically have the potential to be as good as an elite PF is right now. Yes, that is logical.

    @whipjacka, IF we lost Varejo like I speculated our front court would be. Z, Wallace, Bosh. That is an old and thin front court.

  • RockKing

    @Brian: it doesn’t consider logic, it only serves to make sure the salaries match up properly under the CBA rules.

  • Harv 21

    1) If you’re Colangelo, knowing that your team’s future and your professional future may rest on how you handle this, why would you accept Hickson, Varajao and a #1, rather than holding out for a potential star and barring that, gamble that Bosh will take the additional money to stay? Varajao is a limited player looking for a big contract, Hickson is a talented “maybe one day” player, like lots of other young players.
    2) The source of the rumor is Smith. ‘Nuff said. Why is everyone getting all geeked up?

  • Josh

    I guess what i’m having trouble with is this: Our biggest trade assets are expiring contracts and a raw, unproven Hickson…The Raptors will not do it for cap space alone…they will want talent…probably young talent (which we don’t have much of)…If we bring a 3rd team into the deal, why would they take our cap space when they could get Bosh themselves?

    Everyone wants to clear cap space to SIGN guys like Bosh in 1.5 years. why wouldn’t they just trade for Bosh themselves if they had the talent to do so?

  • RockKing

    You’re right Josh. Nobody is saying this is easy. In fact, I tried to make sure it was as clear as possible that it’s tough to find a scenario in which it works. BUT, some teams (Jazz, Nuggets, etc) will sometimes make a trade just for the cap space in order to get under the luxury tax level. That’s the kind of scenario Danny Ferry needs to be looking for.

  • Dwags

    How about this one: We give Toronto Darnell Jackson, JJ Hickson, Wally, Eric Snow and AV (plus #1 pick) and we receive Bosh and Jermaine O’Neil. They shed JO’s contract and get 3 young bigs and a pick. Although JO is injury prone…he is a defensive minded “big” to replace AV.

  • Gskal

    Toronto gets: JJ Hickson, Ilgauskas (Cle) & John Salmons (Sac)
    Sacramento gets: Wally, Cleveland 1st in 2009, Cle 2nd in 2010, cash?
    Cleveland gets: Bosh & Kenny Thomas (Sac)

    From Toronto perspective–they get young big guy in Hickson, veteran in Z and young stud SF in Salmons who is under contract thru 2011–Z and Hickson can expire in 2010

    From Sac: pure salary dump–they stink with Salmons, might as well stink without him and get cap space this off-season. Plus, they get rid of Thomas awful contract which runs thru 2011 and get a couple of picks along the way to help rebuild with.

    From Cavs: obvious–get Bosh, make LBJ very happy and make the current and future teams the odds on faves to win it all. Have to give up something good (Z) to get something that is even better (Bosh). Any deal to benefit Cavs, they will have to take back a lousy contract (Thomas) and probably some sort of draft pick(s).

  • bobby

    Hey.. if Ferry can turn joe smith into Mo Williams, then im willing to consider that the cavs might be able to land bosh for some expiring contracts (if another team gets in).

  • S-Dub

    Any 3 team deals have to involve a team receiving something from the other teams. So Sac would need to get something from us and Toronto to make the deal work.

  • http://yardbarker john

    can’t aren’t going to do anything good will be all talk and speculation and no trade

  • http://yardbarker john

    opps cavs arent going to do anything tradewise

  • Chris M

    Just like last year John?

    The point is, we heard nothing until 20 minutes before the trade. Apropos to Ferry, he is very, very good at keeping his hand close as far as deals go. I’m sure he will not stand pat this year.

  • bridgecrosser

    If Z got traded to all but the few contenders, I’d be he’d retire in a heartbeat.

  • Allen

    I like all the talk about trades, but this is a great opportunity for some Stephen A. bashing.

    That guy is the quintessential example of what ESPN has done to sports. They have taken away all the interesting stuff and listen to the guy who yells the loudest and says the most outlandish things. It’s the hollywoodization of sports that focuses on what individual players are going to do/say/get arrested for instead of strategy and statistics that make sports so fun…

    any way…not a Stephen A fan

  • phil

    Let us spell “let’s” correctly from now on. :)