Now that the draft has passed, it is time to focus on attention to the event that NBA fans have been anticipating for literally years. On Saving the Skyhook, I’ll do a review a day of each of the major players who figure to command the most attention come July 1 — in no particular order. Today features Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors.
As free agency approaches, arguably the third-most-discussed name on the market behind LeBron James and Dwyane Wade is Chris Bosh. For most of the season, it was generally accepted that Bosh would leave Toronto this offseason, unhappy with the team’s production and his supporting cast. When the Raptors narrowly missed out on the playoffs in April, his departure became nearly certain.
Bosh is one of the league’s best big men. In 2009-2010, CB4 averaged 24 points and almost 11 rebounds, taking offensive control for a team that didn’t really have much else to rely on. Bosh possesses a rare combination of inside and outside game for the NBA, complementing great touch around the rim and decent post moves with a silky-smooth jump shot out to 20 feet.
On the defensive end, he could improve, but right now he’s serviceable on that end of the basketball. With decent athleticism and good length, he can contest shots and he’s an excellent rebounder.
Furthermore, Bosh’s value gets a boost because he has largely avoided injury throughout his career. Amid other power forward targets like Amar’e Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer, Bosh has the cleanest bill of health, making his contract a rather secure one.
Bosh needs to improve his passing, though, as he finished the season a mere 35th in assist ratio among power forwards league-wide. One could make the argument, however, that on a Raptors team with little offensive presence, he didn’t really have anyone dependable to whom he could pass the ball, so his best bet was to take it to the rim himself.
Moreover, GMs have to worry slightly about Bosh’s attitude in Toronto this season. For most of the year he seemed checked out, waiting for the opportunity to jump ship and sign with a contender. When he got a whiff of the playoffs, however, he righted his emotions and turned on his game. That emotional unevenness did not hinder his production, though.
On the free-agent market, Bosh can be a great addition to any team that has the cap space to sign him. He’ll bring an immediate presence in the post, but the role he wants is yet unclear. At first, Bosh suggested that playing second fiddle to someone like James or Bosh would not satisfy him; he wanted to lead a team himself. Many questioned the potential of a team with him as the first option on offense, so he seems to have changed his tune. Now he seems ready and willing to play sidekick to another free agent in order to win.
That doesn’t mean he’s willing to accept sidekick money, though. Bosh will demand a maximum-salary contract, and he’ll get one, too. With all the desperation among teams to make a significant improvement through free agency this July, no team will hesitate to fork over max. money to the most desirable big man on the market.
In the long run, Bosh would probably be best off being the second option. With that in mind, his best option would be to team up with Wade in Cleveland or Miami, or go with Wade of James to a team that can afford two max.-contract players, like Chicago or New York.
Nevertheless, he is going to make some team a whole lot better this summer.