I will not rest until I have you holding a Coke, wearing your own shoe, playing a Sega game *featuring you*, while singing your own song in a new commercial, *starring you*, broadcast during the Superbowl, in a game that you are winning, and I will not sleep until that happens- Jerry Maguire
We may be in the summer of ’09, but the speculation over the summer of ’10 has gone into overdrive. Recently, ESPN had its panelist turn their attention to next off-season when the likes of Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are set to enter the free agent market. Of the 52 panelist, 49 believe that Bosh will be relocating next summer. I beg to differ…
Chris Bosh will stay… but it will cost “Max Money”
He may be the forgotten man when talking about the class of ’03, but make no mistake he has always believed he belonged. With the way the CBA is structured, the Raptors maintain leverage in contract negotiations – $$ and length of contract. It was evident from the day he signed the 3 year deal, he was positioning himself to get the most money at the same time leaving the door open to go to a different team. He is still young and not at a point where he is chasing a ring, if anyone thinks money isn’t the driving factor in Bosh’s decision – they are delusional.
As a player who has had a history of knee problems, leaving $30 million on the table would be a huge risk. One bad break and he may never recover that money over the length of his career. The only way he would leave that cash is if he was guaranteed to make it up in endorsement dollars south of the border. With the economic climate unpredictable, and a significant amount of competition from other sports/teams, its highly unlikely that Bosh can be assured to have any major marketing money thrown his way. It doesn’t help that his style of play and position carry a low demand compared to Lebron, Tiger, Kobe, Jeter and Wade.
The option of leaving $30 million (approx.) on the table would only come into play if the team regresses to a point where he loses faith in the direction the team is going. If this is the case the likely destinations mentioned are New York and Miami. Both teams can give him a max contract (albeit less than what the Raptors can), but would be handcuffing the team by doing so.
New York has only 1 max contract available if projections of the luxury tax and salary cap for next season are on point. If that contract goes to Bosh, it means they can’t add Lebron or Wade to play alongside him. What is the lure to go to another struggling team that is essentially in a worse position than his current team? Miami could retain Wade and give Bosh a max contract but it would cripple the team in terms of depth.
Theoretically, it may sound like a good idea for Bosh to try to get in the spotlight, but realistically there are too many factors that make leaving the Raptors illogical at this point in his career.
Is he worth a Max Contract?
Bosh is going to get paid – one way or another. There are only a handful of superstars the rest of the teams have cornerstones. Chris Bosh may not be a 1st team All-NBA, but he is a franchise player who is the face of the Toronto Raptors. When a team is in a position to retain its franchise player, its highly unlikely that they pass on the opportunity.
Bryan Colangelo loosened his collar and went to work this off-season. One can make the case that these drastic changes were made to keep Bosh in Toronto. But, even if Bosh walks, the moves made this summer have left the team in a good position moving forward. The pressure is on Bosh to earn his contract as much as it is on anyone else in Toronto right now.