Chris Bosh is out for the rest of the regular season after undergoing surgery to repair a facial fracture suffered on the other end of an inadvertent elbow. No, you are not the only one wondering if the All-Star power forward has played his last game in Toronto.
First of all, the Raptors will have a tough time making the playoffs without Bosh, so the remaining four games could be all that's left of their season. Of more concern is the fact that team executives I've spoken with recently continue to believe that Bosh is the most likely of the highly regarded free agents to change teams this summer.
Like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, Bosh signed his most recent extension with the intention of testing the unrestricted free agent market this summer; each has a player option for the 2010-11 season. All three turned have turned down extension offers since last summer, with Bosh the most recent prospective free agent to say no. The Raptors relayed an extension offer in January, and Bosh's position was that he wanted to play out the season and deal with the contract afterward.
Injury aside, Toronto's inability to make significant improvement this season despite the addition of free agent Hedo Turkoglu has frustrated Bosh to the point where people close to him believe he is the most motivated of the Big Three to seek a new address this summer. In all likelihood, the Raptors would try to accommodate his wishes via a sign-and-trade so they can avoid losing him and getting nothing in return.
It has been long speculated that Bosh, a Texas native, would seek a return to his home state. Conveniently, there are three teams located there, all of which might be enticed to explore a sign-and-trade. The Rockets are in desperate need of star power, the Spurs are aging, and the Mavericks are always game for splashy, big-ticket moves.
One thing's for sure: It's gotten a lot easier over the past 48 hours to imagine Bosh wearing another uniform next season.
As for the Raptors' battle for the eighth playoff spot in the East with Chicago, the Bulls got another break Thursday night -- also at the hands of the Cavs. LeBron James was inactive for Cleveland's game in Chicago, giving the Bulls a chance to move ahead of Toronto with four games to play for each team. The Raptors hold the tiebreaker and have the easier schedule: at Atlanta, at Detroit, and home to New York in addition to hosting the Bulls on Sunday. Chicago is at New Jersey Friday night and finishes the season against two playoff teams: home to Boston and at Charlotte.