NBA Roundtable

The Bosh Trade Rumours

In Trade Talk on January 10, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Some thoughts on the recent Chris Bosh trade rumours

LA Lakers: Andrew Bynum

Peter Vescey reports

My source believes the Lakers will offer Andrew Bynum for Bosh (if they haven’t done so already) well before the deadline expires. In itself, the one-for-one swap is impossible to make. Bynum’s “base year” essentially allows L.A. to take back but half of his salary this year ($12.5M). Of course, that restriction is lifted when next year’s salary ($13.7M) activates come July 1, at which time a sign-and-trade transaction would be feasible.

However, while I think this trade rumour is more fantasy and paper talk than reality … it is an excellent idea and one that both teams should strongly consider. It would work superbly well for both teams.

The Lakers would become an overwhelmingly talented team who win multiple Championships (Bosh would be superb alongside Gasol/Odom + Kobe) and the Raptors would gain the certainty of Bynum over the uncertainty of Bosh staying. The concerns I expect the Lakers to have are reality but they ignore too many of the positives that Chris Bosh would bring and how good the Lakers would become with him on the roster.

Edit: I skimmed the article the first time and didn’t read the whole thing … Vescey contacted Bryan Colangelo and asked him about the rumour and then printed Colangelo’s response

Asked by e-mail about all of the above and whether the Raptors and Lakers have discussed a Bosh-Bynum proposal, team president Bryan Colangelo, who surely is being contacted on a daily basis regarding the availability of his franchise player — especially when the team was 11-17 — he replied in kind:

“For the record, I am not actively seeking a deal or discussing Bosh with any team, much less the Lakers.

“I haven’t traded him yet and our position has been the same. We will not make a deal just to make a deal. Our intention is to keep him here long term.

“Additionally, I have not yet offered an extension as Dwyane Wade and LeBron James both received [from their respective teams]. So technically he has not said no.

“I honestly don’t think C.B. knows what the future holds, or what he wants to do, so I would say we’re still in the game as far as his pending free agency.”

That sounds about right.

Link: The Forum Blue & Gold (excellent Lakers blog) has a very good on-going discussion in the comments section on the merits of the trade idea for LA. It’s worth reading through if you’re interested in the trade idea/rumour.

Houston Rockets

Marc Stein reports

But Houston is different.

Sources say the ever-aggressive Rockets are sure a half-season in Houston could convince the native Texan to pledge his long-term future to a city players love as well as a team that sits four games over .500 without the injured Yao Ming and the exiled Tracy McGrady.

This season’s success without marquee names also suggests that the Rockets have the requisite stash of assets — depending on whom they’re willing to surrender from a group that includes Aaron Brooks, Carl Landry, Trevor Ariza and Luis Scola — to assemble a legit deal for Toronto to consider. It’s likewise believed that Houston can put a decent package together without insisting that McGrady’s mammoth $22.5 million salary has to be part of it, which complicates matters even though it’s an expiring deal because so many more players have to be included to make the trade math work.

The Rockets are bad trade partners for the Raptors for the following reasons:

  • Luis Scola’s contract expires this summer and is due a large pay increase
  • Aaron Brooks’ + Carl Landry’s contracts expire in 18 months time and both are due large pay increases
  • The Rockets cannot offer a star talent or a top prospect who can become a star.

An Illustration Of The Problem

Okay, so let’s play out an example. Let’s try to create an ideal trade scenario under the following conditions

  • Yao Ming isn’t available
  • Houston won’t take back every contract one doesn’t like on the Raptors
  • All of Houston’s other players are available

The idea here is to create what is possibly the best trade package that the Houston Rockets can offer within reason.

So, okay, let’s say the trade package is:

  • Toronto offers: Chris Bosh + Jarrett Jack
  • Houston offers: Luis Scola + Carl Landry + Trevor Ariza + Aaron Brooks + Shane Batter + future first round draft picks in 2011 + 2013

Raptors Roster

That leaves Toronto with a squad of

  • Big Men — Bargnani + Landry + Scola + Rasho + Reggie
  • Wings — Hedo + Battier + Ariza + DeRozan + Weems + Belinelli
  • Guards — Calderon + Brooks + Banks

Or

  • C — Bargnani
  • PF — Landry
  • SF — Turkoglu
  • SG — Ariza
  • PG — Calderon
  • Sixth man — Scola
  • Seventh man — Battier
  • Eight man — Brooks
  • Ninth man — DeRozan

Note: The wings are all fairly interchangeable. You could start Battier + DeRozan in a year or two’s time just as easily as the other two if DeRozan develops well.

Note: The two Rockets picks will likely be in the late first round. It will be difficult for any draft pick taken there to crack that deep Raptors rotation. Those picks will also be comparable to the cost of a minimum contract player.

Now, let’s have a look at Toronto’s cap situation

  • Scola is a free agent in 2010. The Raptors resign him to a $8 million contract.
  • Brooks + Landry + Battier are free agents in 2011. Let’s say the Raptors sign Brooks to a $5 million contract + Landry to an $8 million contract + Battier to a $6-7 million contract.

So, in 2011, the Raptors are roughly paying out

  • Big Men — Bargnani ($10 mil) + Landry ($8 mil) + Scola ($8 mil) + minimum contract backups
  • Wings — Turkoglu ($10 mil) + Ariza ($7 mil) + Battier ($7 mil) + DeRozan ($3 mil) + minimum contract backups
  • Guards — Calderon ($10 mil) + Brooks ($5 mil) + minimum contract backup

That roster has a total value of $73 million for nine rotation players + six minimum contract backups. In other words, their cap is maxed out, they’re in luxury tax territory and it’ll be very difficult for the Raptors to spend their MLE without their ownership okaying a large luxury tax bill.

Overall

Now, a few questions

  1. How good is that Toronto Raptors team? Is it a playoff team? Is it a team that’s capable of making a long playoff run? Is it a legitimate contender?
  2. If it’s not a legitimate contender, can it become a legitimate contender?
    1. Does the team have enough room for internal development? Does it have enough young prospects who can improve and push the Raptors into elite status?
    2. Does the team have enough cap flexibility to make a move in free agency? Obviously not.
    3. Do the Raptors have good enough draft picks to find star talent? Nope, they have their own picks (late teens, early twenties, I think) and two Rockets picks (mid to late twenties).
    4. Do the Raptors have enough trade assets to acquire a star player? A perennial All-Star? An All-NBA player? A franchise talent? Nope, we’ve seen in the past that teams are reluctant to trade top tier talent while only getting role players in return.
  3. Can the Raptors build a Championship caliber team when their best player is … Andrea Bargnani or Luis Scola or Jose Calderon or Hedo Turkoglu or  Carl Landry or DeRozan … can one of those players be the best player on a title winning team?

Personally, I think it’s definitely a playoff team. A good team capable of winning 45-50 games. More if Bargnani + DeRozan continue to develop so it could turn into a 50-55 win team. A team that’s capable of winning a playoff series. I do not, however, think it’s a team capable of contending for a Championship. Not today, and, not in the future.

More Cap Thoughts

Okay, so let’s alter the circumstances a bit. Let’s say the Rockets choose not to re-sign Battier or Brooks. Now, instead of $73 million they have only $61 million in contracts. Still no cap space but they can spend their MLE. What are the chances of Toronto getting a superior talent to Battier with their MLE? Lousy. Their chances of getting a superior talent to Brooks with the MLE? At best they’re mediocre.

Nothing gained by going down that avenue. Maybe they let Luis Scola go to. Landry isn’t up for an extension until 2011 and he’ll be the starting power forward of the future anyway. Only Ariza is left on the books then. So it’s Landry + Ariza for Chris Bosh. And the Raptors have $5-8 million in cap space, again, can the Raptors get better players than Scola + Battier + Brooks for their $5-8 million of cap space? Nope.

How about in 2011, after they’ve paid Landry his $8 million, and selected two first round picks (Rockets + one Raptors pick with the other pick headed to Miami). They’ll have about $51 million on the books at that stage. Again, only $5-7 million in cap space. Chances of gaining better players than Scola + Battier + Brooks? Nil.

Okay, so if the Raptors make this trade, their best way forward is to pay to keep their talent. They do not have enough cap flexibility to partially build around those players without taking apart the rest of their roster (Bargnani, Hedo, Calderon).

Final Note: Remember this was an ideal trade scenario. There’s little to no chance that Houston will include Scola + Landry and then include Battier + Ariza and then include Aaron Brooks + two first round picks to top it all off. Even with Houston’s best offer the Raptors can’t turn their team into a contender.

Summary

The Houston Rockets are a bad trade partner for Chris Bosh because:

  • They are not offering established elite players
  • They are not offering young prospects who can become elite players in the NBA
  • Several of their cheap role players (Scola, Landry, Brooks, Lowry) are expiring or near-expiring contracts who will demand considerable pay increases in the near future.

A trade with Houston leaves the Raptors in murky waters in their quest to build a title contender. Ergo, they’re a bad team to trade with.

Chicago Bulls

A nonsense rumour here

Early in the day, I wrote about a trade rumor being discussed on 670 the Score that involved the Bulls receiving Kirk Hinrich. Here are the exact quotes from the Boers and Bernstein show regarding the rumor:

Try this on for size, as something that is percolating. And as of now, this is all I can tell you. I’m not going to tell you this is a done deal, or that it’s even close, but as far as something that is out there as a possibility. Hinrich, Tyrus Thomas, and at least one pick to the Toronto Raptors for Chris Bosh.

Like I said, this is a nonsense rumour. Nothing to it. There’s no way the Raptors consider giving up Chris Bosh for that package.

A bad contract + a solid prospect who’s contract expires in the summer and will be looking for a lengthily extension + a low first round draft pick … in exchange for an All-NBA talent?

It’s ludicrous. It’s also an example of cap space being a better option than taking on a bad contract (Hinrich).

Bulls Way Forward

Quick note on the Bulls — I would like to see Chicago trade Kirk Hinrich and John Salmons for expiring contracts and enter the summer trying to build around a foursome of:

Derrick Rose + Max Contract free agent + Luol Deng + Joakim Noah

I think that’s the best way forward for Chicago. Their best chance of acquiring an elite talent and building a core to future contender.

Toronto Raptors

I think the Raptors recent run of form — they had won 12 of 17 and 7 of 8 until losing to Boston earlier today — will make Bryan Colangelo a lot more reluctant to break up his team’s nucleus.

I don’t think he’ll be willing to trade Bosh at the trade deadline unless (1) Colangelo receives an excellent offer where a somewhat comparable talent or comparable prospect + talent comes back in return (2) Bosh tells him he’s going to leave in the summer.

If the Raptors go through a bad run of form/results over the next month … this could easily change before the deadline.

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  1. Examples of Bynum Trades

    On the Andrew Bynum trade the two simplest trade ideas appear to be:

    (1) Bynum + Morrison + Farmer for Bosh
    (2) Bynum + Morrison + Mbenga + Powell for Bosh

    Or you could combine the two and go with:

    (3) Bynum + Morrison + Farmer + Mbenga + Powell for Chris Bosh + Rasho Nesterovic

    Raptors Roster Spots

    In any situation, the Raptors will be forced to remove some of their own players to stay within the limit of 15 roster spots. Either by trading a player to another team for something like a trade exception or by waiving a player. Patrick O’Bryant seems an easy choice to waive. Him plus Bosh plus their open roster allows the Raps to take back 3 players easily enough.

    To create another vacancy they’d have to move someone else. I think Antoine Wright or Marco Belinelli in a trade would be the best option. Or they could eat a bad contract like Banks and try to keep their wings.

    Best trade for LA

    The Lakers could also include Sasha Vujacic and force the Raptors to include Jarrett Jack. With Farmer replacing Jack in Toronto. That would give the Lakers their backup PG and future PG to replace Derek Fisher along with Bosh.

    (4) Bynum + Morrison + Vujacic + Farmer for Bosh + Jack + Rasho or Wright

    Or

    (5) Bynum + Morrison + Vujacic + Farmer + Mbenga + Powell for Bosh + Jack + Rasho + Wright

    Raptors have to waive Patrick O’Bryant in the fifth option.

    Lakers get their point guard, a wing to replace Sasha, and a reliable fourth big who provides some muscle to complement Pau/Bosh/Lamar.

    The Raptors get Bynum and Farmer and have a year and half of Vujacic to put up with. Powell is a decent big man but he’ll be behind Amir Johnson + Reggie Evans, good fifth big in the rotation for Toronto. Mbenga replaces POB. Morrison is useless and should be bought out immediately.

    Fun Rumour

    I’m enjoying thinking about this rumour. That Lakers team would be a lot of fun to watch.

  2. Two other articles — ESPN + Sam Smith — discuss Chris Bosh trade rumours briefly. Two notes I wanted to jot down here.

    ESPN

    Sources say the Raptors will not consider moving Bosh before next month’s trade deadline unless Bosh tells them he definitely will not return to Toronto next season.

    Toronto’s Plan A has always been to re-sign Bosh. However, in considering all possibilities, the club has had internal discussions about Plans B and C, which would include trying to get as good a big man as possible for Bosh (if re-signing him was out of the question).

    Sam Smith

    Is that eight or nine teams now trading for Chris Bosh? Sixteen?

    The latest was speculation over the weekend about the Lakers, which followed speculation last week about Houston. We know the Bulls’ interest, and Miami’s has been no secret.

    Dallas has been mentioned prominently since Bosh is from there, and I’ve heard rumblings about the Celtics to try to begin to retool without going to the bottom like they did at the end of the Bird/McHale/Parish era. And since Danny Ainge, now GM, was part of that he may know best what happened when you let your stars play it out.

    Interesting …

  3. The sudden increase in Bosh trade rumors makes me wonder if Bosh has already told Colangelo he isn’t planning on resigning with Toronto, and Colangelo may have sent out ‘feelers’ to other teams, thereby triggering all of the above rumors. I agree with the above, but love the idea of a Bosh-Bynum trade as I think Bargnani and Bynum would complement each other very well.

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