Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Raptors Break Rule #1

Rule #1 in Sports

If your franchise player is an impending free agent and has made it abundantly clear that he does not plan to resign when his contract expires you MUST get something in return for him.

While Chris Bosh has not come out and publicly stated that he will test the free agent market it is pretty much a given. Why would he resign with the Raptors when it is quite clear that they do not have the talent to compete with the better teams in the Eastern Conference? Bosh has made it clear he wants to win a championship and I can tell you right now he will never do that with Andrea Bargnani and Hedo Turkoglu on his team.

Therefore he is leaving. Now going into this season Raptors General Manager Brian Colangelo had two options. 1) trade Bosh at the deadline and try and get something for him rather than allowing him to walk at the end of the season for nothing or 2) keep Bosh for the season and hope he resigns with the team after a strong playoff push.

Since Bosh is still a Raptor and the NBA Trade Deadline was on Thursday it is clear that Colangelo opted for option one and by doing so broke Sports Rule #1.

What happens at the end of the year now when Bosh walks? Well the Raptors will free up $15 million in cap space and will no doubt spend that on someone who doesn't deserve, like they did with Turkoglu last off-season. Our best player will be Andrea Bargnani and we will struggle to make the playoffs until we find another superstar to replace Bosh. Basically the Raptors will become as irrelevant as the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Golden State Warriors.

It's decisions like this that make me question how a guy like Colangelo can have a job? When he signed with the Raptors he was supposed to be this brilliant GM who would fix all of our problems and he just let the deadline pass without moving our soon-to-be free agent superstar, and why? So the Raptors could make the playoffs and lose in the 1st round to whoever it they play (as of right now they would play the Atlanta Hawks and get stomped without a doubt).

Is it really worth it? Is 2 home playoff games worth losing your franchise player for? And don't anyone try and defend the Raptors and say that they have a legitimate shot in the playoffs because let's face it, they don't. They aren't better than Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland or Orlando so what hope do they have going into the playoffs?

Now I will admit that the deals offered for Bosh were pretty weak but some were decent. There were talks that a possible Andrew Bynum for Bosh trade could happen. That would be an acceptable return for Bosh. Bynum is a young center with a decent contract and would finally give the Raptors a true center who isn't afraid to get rebounds and play in the paint.

There were also rumors that Bosh could be traded to the Bulls for a package that included Tyrus Thomas and Kirk Hinrich. Thomas is a developing young player who is a solid defender and Hinrich would give the Raptors a solid back up allowing them to trade either Calderon or Jack for another piece. This deal makes sense.

What doesn't make sense is letting Bosh walk for zip.

I wrote a similar article last year when the NHL trade deadline was looming about the Florida Panthers and Jay Bouwmeester. The Panthers wanted to keep Bouwmeester for their playoff push and ended up not trading him. What happened there? The Panthers missed the playoffs and eventually traded Bouwmeester for a grossly inferior package in comparison to what they would have received on deadline day (they ended up getting Jordan Leopold and a 3rd round pick instead of Kevin Bieksa, a prospect and a 1st round pick from the Canucks).

Moral of the story? Don't break Sports Rule #1.

Now if Bosh ends up resigning then this whole argument is moot but I just don't see that happening. Based on rumors Bosh could end up playing with either Wade or LeBron next season. A few teams cleared the necessary cap room at the deadline in order to sign either Wade/Bosh or LeBron/Bosh. How could anyone pass up playing with one of those 2 guys?

As a Raptors fan I have enjoyed watching Bosh progress over the years. While his ceiling as a player will never exceed "second banana" he plays with passion and heart and this year he has shown that he can be a dominate player. I am sad that he more than likely won't be back but I am even sadder that he will leave for nothing.

There is no excuse for that. None.

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