Now that the 2008-09 season is completed, the hot topic surrounding the NBA is over what will happen during the summer of 2010. With prominent names such as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Joe Johnson available to the highest bidder, it’s causing fans to drool over the idea of their favorite team being able to add another marquee player to their roster.
It’s not just fans that are getting prepared as this past season saw Detroit, New York, and Sacramento start to shed contracts in an attempt to have as much cap room as possible for the free agent bonanza of 2010.
Have you ever wondered what goes through the head of a general manager in regards to the summer of 2010? Wonder no more as Los Angeles Clippers general manager and head coach Mike Dunleavy let loose with some great sound bites when his team was in Toronto last season.
With Bosh being a year away from free agency, Dunleavy was bombarded with questions about this topic and the veteran general manager wasn’t shy about sharing what would go through his mind if he had a player in a similar position.
“I think the first and foremost the primary consideration is for your ownership and your fans,” Dunleavy explained to the media members huddled around him while relaxing on the Clippers bench.
“He’s got to protect them in the sense that you have an asset that could disappear. He needs to take all considerations into play and then you’ve got to make a decision along the way about whether there is a deal that brings me assets back that are under contract for a longer period of time that are positive, or is this the type of situation where I have a sense or indication from the player that he really wants to be here.”
And that’s the question which strikes fear into the hearts of Raptors fans: Does Bosh have any intention on resigning here with Toronto? Sure, he signed an extension a couple summers ago when the team was coming off a 27-win season, but he was essentially forced to do so because he was a restricted free agent at the time. A big reason why Bosh signed a shorter contract at the time was so he would have the ability to sign with the team of his choosing in 2010.
This means Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo has to gauge if Bosh is willing to sign with Toronto despite the team not being firmly entrenched among the elite of the NBA.
Dunleavy doesn’t know if Bosh will re-sign but admitted if he was in Colangelo’s position he would have a lot of questions running through his head.
“Is he willing to give any kind of indication that he really wants to be here on any kind of percentage basis? Is he willing to give you any kind of hope that it’s going to happen? Those are all heavy things that you really have to weigh. It’s not an easy thing to do for your fans and your ownership. If it comes down to the trade deadline and he’s not willing to give you any kind of indication that makes for a very tough decision.”
This means Colangelo is essentially entrenched in a high stakes game of poker; however, instead of playing with his own money he’s risking the future of the franchise as well as his own reputation.
As a general manager himself, would Dunleavy be willing to wait until the trade deadline next February or even until next summer when Bosh becomes an unrestricted free agent?
“I think what you have to say to yourself is that you have to at least explore it and if there’s something out there that would make sense. Then, at that point, I would really have to look at it because at that point it’s really the law of diminishing returns. As the time gets closer (to next summer) the chances of moving him anywhere than where he wants to go kind of becomes slim.”
If Bosh bolts next season and the Raptors are left empty handed this wouldn’t doom the franchise because they’ll have a boat load of money from this summer, the cap room from Bosh’s current deal and a ton of players scrambling to get their piece of the free agent pie.
This is exactly how Dunleavy sees things and advises Raptors fans not to worry if things appear to be falling apart during contract negotiations next summer.
“You have to evaluate your cap space (if Bosh leaves). If a player gave me no indication that he was leaving and then we take it down to the wire in the hope that I can keep him, if he did in fact leave me how much cap space would I have and what could I go and do with that money? It’s a very precarious situation and it depends on the appetite of your ownership and fans to gamble. You play percentages and figure out what’s the best deal for your team.”
So, with nearly four months until training camps kicks off Raptors fans need to take a deep breath and relax. Regardless of whether Bosh is dealt before training camp, if he gets dealt during the season, if we lose him via free agency or if he signs an extension, his departure would not cripple this franchise like the trade of Vince Carter did.
Besides, what other general managers would you want running the show in such a pivotal part of this franchises history?
Personally, there’s no one I’d rather have running the franchise than Colangelo.