In my opinion, there’s no fan-base more rabid than the Toronto Raptors. And understandably so. As the lone representative of NBA teams above the border, it’s hard to shed the title of “expansion team” and become a legit title contender in the NBA. Forget about competing with the traditions of Boston, Los Angeles and even Chicago, the Raptors have only been around since 1995. So when the mainstream media continually come out and attack their franchise player, Chris Bosh, I understand how the initial reaction from Raptors Nation is to get defensive. It’d be like me going up to you and your wife and telling your that she’d have such a better life with me. You wouldn’t be too pleased.
But unfortunately Raptors fans, there’s an old adage that applies here: The proof is in the pudding. In an article today by Michael Wallace of The Miami Herald, Bosh talked before Sunday’s game against the Heat about his future plans.
“The money is going to be the same, no matter where I go,” said Bosh. “It’s about winning. I’m finishing my seventh year. Contending for a championship is all I want. I never made it past the first round. I just want to be a contender.”
It’s true. You can paint the rosy picture as bright as you want in the Queen City, but the W’s just simply aren’t there. In Bosh’s previous six seasons with the Raptors, they’ve had ONE winning season. And at 35-37 with 10 games to go, it doesn’t appear they’re going to come out on top of .500 this year either. For a guy that just wants to win, why would he want to stay on a team that has compiled a 249-315 record to date, which is just above 44 percent? To answer that question, I don’t think that he would.
And what better time to leave? The five-time All-Star is averaging career highs in points (23.8), rebounds (10.9) and field-goal percentage (.513) this season for the Raptors, and has shed the prima donna label that has plagued him for years. For once, Bosh is letting his game do the talking, and everyone has taken notice.
Unlike some GMs, I will say that Bryan Colangelo has done his part. With a team payroll in the bottom half of the NBA, he’s made more than his fair share of moves and has shown that he’s willing to spend money to bring in guys. Was signing Hedo Turkoglu to a five year, $53 million contract the best move in hindsight? Perhaps not. But at the time, it signaled to their superstar Bosh that they were willing to bring in pieces to help him out. And that’s all you can ask.
As this season winds to a close, the Raptors are clinging on to the eight-seed by half a game over the Bulls. Assuming they do make the playoffs, this certainly won’t be the year that Bosh finally gets past the first round. So where to from here? Once the Raptors get swept by the Cavs, Bosh has already warned teams not to expect a quick decision regarding his future when the free agency negotiation period opens on July 1.
“I think it’s going to drag out for a while,” said Bosh. “There are so many possibilities and scenarios, with guys staying with their own teams and trying to get other guys [to sign]. You have to look at combinations and possibilities of what could happen. So I don’t expect it to be over too quickly.”
What do you think? Will Bosh stay in Toronto? If not, where will he sign?
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