Posted on: July 6, 2010 9:32 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2010 9:35 pm
All's quiet on the free agency front. Too quiet. As we wait for the next bombshell, we decided to check in with Ken Berger and ask him for the latest on Chris Bosh's situation and how it affects the rest of the dominoes:
Matt Moore: Chris Bosh has all of a sudden moved into a catalyst-type position, if the reports of the sign-and-trade Cleveland option is true. Let's start there. What exactly would the Raptors be looking for in a package back, cap space and picks, or veteran assets?
Ken Berger: First, yes, the Raptors have told Bosh and his agent, Henry Thomas, that they're willing to explore a sign-and-trade with Cleveland. It's the most advantageous circumstance for everybody involved: LeBron stays and gets his max deal, Bosh leaves and gets his max deal, the Cavs become even more of a championship contender, and the Raptors get quality assets in return -- some combination of Anderson Varejao/J.J. Hickson, Anthony Parker/Jamario Moon, plus Delonte West (who'd be waived by Toronto with $4 million in savings because only $500,000 of his salary for next season is guaranteed) and possibly draft picks. (The Cavs don't have any extra ones, but have their own picks to offer). The problem is, Bosh doesn't want to go. He much prefers Miami, Chicago or the Nets. Thus, stalemate.
MM: We've been hearing strong indications the whole way through of Bosh to Miami. How many times has Bosh actually met with Pat Riley and Co., that you know of, and are you hearing the same?
KB: Once that I know of, and it's still in play. Miami also has explored Amar'e Stoudemire (committed to the Knicks) and Carlos Boozer (whom the Jazz are claiming they want to re-sign) as a running mate for Dwyane Wade. If Bosh wants to go to Miami on his own (without a sign-and-trade), it's more than doable; the Heat have the cap room. Problem is, Bosh would wind up with less money than Wade because of the 8 percent raises and five years he'd get vs. 10.5 percent raises and six years from Toronto. If Bosh is OK with that, Miami makes the most sense. If he wants to push for the sign-and-trade, the obstacle will be the Raptors; Miami doesn't have nearly the assets to trade that Cleveland does. One thing to consider: since Bosh would be going to a team with cap space, Toronto would get a massive trade exception, which will be very useful at the trade deadline when teams that are falling out of the playoff race are desperate to get out from under contracts. Bosh-to-Miami might not get the Raptors an immediate replacement -- a tough sell in the short term -- but with a little patience, they might do better in a few months. Is that a risk they're willing to take?
MM: Is New Jersey still in this thing at all?
KB: Although the Nets are on Bosh's preferred list if LeBron goes with him, those discussions aren't gaining any traction because the Cleveland scenario clearly takes precedence for the Raptors. Even the Rockets, in Bosh's home state of Texas, have some attractive pieces to offer (free-agent Luis Scola, Shane Battier, Trevor Ariza). So the Nets are in a little bit of a danger zone. Do they try to push things forward by making a play for Boozer, thus making themselves more attractive to Wade or LeBron (as the Knicks tried with Stoudemire?) Another option is David Lee, who wants to stay in the New York area and clearly isn't going back to the Knicks. Lee, probably attainable at $11-$12 million a year, is a better deal than all the other power forward on the market.
MM: How does Amar'e agreeing to a deal with New York affect Bosh? Does it raise or lower his value?
KB: Bosh's value is pretty much set; $125 million if Toronto pays him, $96 million is somebody else does. What Stoudemire going to the Knicks did was remove one possible destination and force LeBron and Wade to accelerate their decisions. The last thing either one wants is to return to his existing team with no superstar coming with him; although the Cavs believe they have the best to offer LeBron, having won 60-plus games two years in a row. With Stoudemire off the board, Bosh has the ability to lure LeBron or Wade with him. But if he wants to get all the money possible, he has to work with the Raptors. And to this point, he hasn't.
MM: Are all the free agents basically waiting on each other, or do you expect one to kick-start the rest of the dominoes?
KB: One team executive told me Tuesday that the market has come to a "screeching halt" while teams and free agents wait for LeBron, Wade and Bosh to make a decision. To a degree, their decisions are intertwined. But at some point, each player is going to have to do what's best for him. When one of them shows his cards and commits to either staying put or leaving, the rest of it will come together in a flurry of activity that will be the opposite of the paralysis we're currently witnessing.
Posted on: July 6, 2010 5:34 pm
Deciphering the riddle of Chris Bosh with what we know so far ...
So if Chris Bosh wants the extra year, and wants to play with LeBron, then he might be able to go to Cleveland, New Jersey, or Chicago.
If he wants to play with Dwyane Wade and Wade wants to go to Miami, he can go to Miami, but can't get the extra year.
If he wants to play for the Knicks, well, tough.
If he wants to play with Dwyane Wade and get the extra year, he'll have to convince Wade to go to Chicago, New Jersey, or conceptually, Cleveland.
If he wants to play for the Clippers, he's obviously incurred brain damage.
Does that wrap things up?
Bosh no longer has one decision to make, he has several. He has the options in front of him, and now has to choose which road. Does he take the money, and the security? Or the best chance to win a championship? Does he take the weather? Or the fame? In one sense, Bosh has become the catalyst in all this. He commits to a sign-and-trade with Cleveland, that may be enough to pull LeBron back. He doesn't, and he's left waiting, staring at James in a game of chicken they both lose in. On the other, the onus may now be on Bosh. If he wants to get the perfect situation (a move to Chicago that gets him the extra money, and the city he wants, and a superstar contending core), he'll have to talk either Wade or James into leaving home. That doesn't seem like something Bosh has much interest in, but then again, trying to figure out Bosh's priorities at this point is as much a Nintendo Duck Hunt as it is with the other two.
There's a weird standoff taking place. For as much as the three have talked and discussed playing together, every indication is that each wants what he wants and wants the others to want what he wants as well. How's that for a tongue twister? James wants to stay home and not stab the state of Ohio in the heart, while contending for a championship and getting his extra money. Wade wants to stay home where he's made himself part of the community through charity and business, and most importantly, wants to contend for a championship again.
Bosh? No one knows what his angle is. But whatever he decides may end up deciding the future of the league for the next half decade.
No pressure, Chris.
Posted on: July 6, 2010 11:37 am
Edited on: July 6, 2010 11:39 am
Chris Broussard of ESPN is reporting that the Raptors have agreed to a sign-and-trade of Chris Bosh if Bosh agrees to such a deal.
So right off the bat, there are conflicting reports . Secondly, again, Bosh has not agreed to such a deal, and Broussard reports that he is cold to the idea of being by the Lake instead prefers Chicago (yes, I know, also by a lake, go with me), New Jersey, or Miami. Miami is out, according to Broussard because they lack the pieces the Raptors would want in a sign-and-trade. Both Chicago and New Jersey have players the Raps would be interested in, but not moreso than what the Cavs have to toss in.
So what's the big deal? Isn't Bosh an unrestricted free agent, able to sign anywhere?
That's true, but the Raptors can let Bosh have his cake and eat it too. He can sign for more money and more years with Toronto, then be sent to where he wants to play, with who he wants to play with.
The tightly held puzzle of free agency is starting to loosen.
If Broussard's on the money, and the Raps can't figure out a deal of high enough value with Chicago or New Jersey, then Bosh will have to decide between the extra money and security, or his own autonomy and a bigger market. It's a tough decision, but consider that once again, LeBron James has the impetus to control the situation here. If LeBron signs with Cleveland outright, he could force Bosh's decision, especially if Wade is still on the fence.
Meanwhile, the report has significant implications for both Miami and Chicago. The time may have come to divert attention from James and to Wade, in an effort to get him off the fence and in their respective uniforms first. With Amar'e in New York, off the market, and Joe Johnson locked up in Atlanta, both Chicago and Miami will have to make significant moves to avoid being left out in the cold if they feel like talks with the Raptors are stagnant. Bosh may be reticent to go to Cleveland but he's now looking at extra money and a direct courtship from LeBron James. That's enough to open some eyes to the beauty of Cleveland.
Things are starting to shake loose. We'll keep you updated on where the next piece falls.
Posted on: July 2, 2010 10:23 am
Edited on: July 2, 2010 10:25 am
So we're a day in. Who were the winners and losers from the first day of free agency?
New Jersey Nets: The Nets made an impression with the first meeting of LeBron James' free agency tour and came away feeling good about things. They also may have inadvertently benefited from the Knicks' proposal , which too obviously ignored them.
Toronto Raptors: The Raptors made a signing that was defense-focused , signing young Amir Johnson to a 5-year, $34 million dollar deal. Some will question whether his production warrants such a deal, but look at his per-minute numbers (outside of fouls), and his age, consider the deal Andrew Bynum was rewarded with, and realize that Johnson is only 23. Good move for the Raps who are in for a rocky year.
Los Angeles Lakers: Any time you can bring back a guy who has 13 rings and is the only one to make your team's offensive system work, and the only person Kobe Bryant has won titles with, that's a good day, even if you didn't sign a soul.
Memphis Grizzlies: There were a lot of complications that led to Rudy Gay being inked to a near-max contract at 5 years, $82 million despite having never been an All-Star. The Grizzlies couldn't lose Gay. They would have been stranded without a small-forward. The fanbase already considers ownership cheap. And Gay is the best player under 26 on the team. They also couldn't really wait to see what offer sheets Gay came upon or signed. If a team offered a max contract, front-loaded, it would have hurt them financially, and may have forced them into a less flexible position, particularly if teams had waited till later in the summer to formally extend the offer sheet in an effort to squeeze the Grizz. But that doesn't change the facts of the deal, nor does it change that they could have avoided this mess by getting an agreement done a year ago, and likely at a lower price when demand wasn't so high as it is now. The Grizzlies gave a near-max to a player who has been inconsistent, is young, but not super-young, and has never been an All-Star. By hook or by crook, the Grizzlies wound up losers today.
Atlanta Hawks: First they made everyone think they were insane by offering Joe Johnson the absolute max, right off the bat. Then things got worse as Johnson still hasn't agreed to the deal, and has taken a secondary meeting with his agent from which no resolution has been made.
New York Knicks: They have the money. They have the brand. They have the PowerPoint . And yet they still seem to be on the outside looking in at the top free agents while Chicago, Miami, and even the Nets gain traction. Now, they're getting the ear and are still firmly in on this thing, but the prevailing wisdom doesn't speak to them having had a rousingly successful day. And when the stakes are this high, not winning is losing. There are no draws.
Posted on: June 29, 2010 9:22 am
Edited on: June 29, 2010 12:38 pm
Oh, how we once laughed. We giggled. We guffawed. The idea of it! The sheer madness of the concept! Oh, what rich comedy, to think that it could be true.
Except, well, now no one's laughing.
In Monday's Free Agent Buzzer, our own Ken Berger lays out why the rumored Chris-Bosh-Dwyane-Wade-LeBron-James
trio possibility in South Beach would both be bad for business, and is extremely unlikely. But the fact that Berger elected to comment on it speaks to how high this only 12-hour old rumor has swept through sports media.
Bear in mind that it's not just Ira Winderman at the Sun-Sentinel dropping that bomb . Stephen A. Smith, who, like it or not, has a ton of access to NBA circles, was out ahead of the pack with the same rumor .
So now we have two significant sources reporting the same concept. Of course, this is nothing new. In the past 48 hours, we've heard Joe Johnson was going to New York, Joe Johnson will be traded to the Mavs, and LeBron to Chicago is a "done deal." If you guys hang on for another 12 hours, we'll be bringing you news that Carlos Boozer has sprouted wings and returned to his home planet in a galaxy far far away for a max contract.
This rumor's got a tremendous amount of steam behind it, and you have to wonder if it is just a rumor, who exactly is pitching that concept around? Someone with something to gain is tossing out the idea that the biggest superstar team-up since "Space Jam " is going down and whoever it is is likely from Wade's camp in Miami.
We'll have more on "THE SUMMIT " later, but if this thing does have legs, it probably started there. All of these reports have one consistent theme, though. Well, besides being pretty much lazed with abject panic from the rest of the league. All of them state that each agent is committed to exploring his options fully. Which means we could be in for an arms race, in reverse, in order to get all three of these players.
The Chicago Bulls pulled off their trade of Kirk Hinrich last week, opening the door to sign two max free agents. But if they can find a way to dish off Luol Deng, or lock in the terms of a sign-and-trade with one of the superstars' respective clubs, they could pull off a similar feat in Chicago. Likewise, I'd bet that Donnie Walsh is probably putting garland on Eddy Curry's head right now to try and pull in any offer he can to dump the center's salary. We started with "two max free agents" and now we're on to three.
We'll get you filled in on the possible ramifications of a team up of these three later (here's the short version: GAME OVER), but these reports indicate two things. One, this is already an abjectly insane point in the league's history from both a level of impact and media coverage perspective. And two, things are only going to get more nuts.
You realize we haven't even started free agency, right?
Posted on: June 29, 2010 8:06 am
Edited on: June 29, 2010 9:38 am
You have to appreciate someone being honest. You really have to appreciate someone being honest in sports. And you have to appreciate Bryan Colangelo not spoon feeding us the same tripe about how the Raptors are "very confident" they'll be able to re-sign Chris Bosh.
The Score reports of an interview on a Toronto radio station with Colangelo, where the Raps GM said "I think it's likely that he will leave. "
The Raptors will look to accomplish a sign-and-trade for Bosh in order to recoup some level of value for his departing contract. Their best bet is probably Chicago, would would be able to offer Luol Deng's contract if they feel they can nab LeBron James as the jewel in the crown, making Deng expendable.
The Raptors' roster will remain kind of a mess, however. Jose Calderon has not lived up to the promise of his best season in 2009, Hedo Turkoglu is a cancerous fungus demanding a trade, and their best player without Bosh will be a seven foot Italian who doesn't excel at rebounding (though he can shoot the lights out). They'll look to add pieces and try and figure out some alternative approach. But the tide around Colangelo is definitely turning into a whirlpool from which he may not escape.
Raptors fans have been through a lot, and this is just the latest in a series of disappointments for what is ultimately a terrific fanbase. But the reality of the situation is that Bosh is gone, and rebuilding begins again in Toronto, only with a much larger payroll than usual. But hey, at least they're being honest.