Bosh's kind of town

Toronto Raptors' Chris Bosh says he is ready to commit to the team long term. (Toronto Sun...

Toronto Raptors' Chris Bosh says he is ready to commit to the team long term. (Toronto Sun File/Dave Abel)

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:50 AM ET

Chris Bosh officially wants the Raptors' money and the team is prepared to open up the vault.

The Raptors all-star forward yesterday all but finalized he will sign a maximum contract with Toronto, locking him up for up to six more seasons.

"I'll gladly come back," Bosh said -- in his strongest statement on the subject to date -- after his exit interview with coach Sam Mitchell and a conversation with president/general manager Bryan Colangelo yesterday.

"The direction we're taking, I have a chance to be a leader of a promising young team."

While Raptors fans were biting their nails in anticipation of what could have been a tough decision for Bosh, the third-year player basically ended the suspense yesterday, despite finishing a third consecutive non-playoff season Wednesday with a career-low 27 wins.

The Raptors are the only team that can sign him to an extension this summer and he'd be giving up tons of money (about $12 million US in the first year of the extension) if he chose not to do so. Besides, if he's not happy down the road, he can pull a Vince Carter and demand out.

"When I think about it, my thing is why not?" Bosh said. "I have a chance to have my own team, to be a leader of a team and to try to challenge myself to bring it up and keep it up."

Bosh said the hiring of Colangelo in February was a turning point.

"I think when they hired Bryan, that's when my thoughts started to change," Bosh said. "As I continued to talk to Bryan, we developed our relationship (to the point) we have now. Things got better.

"He told me one thing. He said 'I think I have a great reputation and I'm not trying to change that.' He doesn't want to ruin his name by not making this franchise better."

Naturally, the Raptors were thrilled with Bosh's pronouncement.

"I was obviously excited to hear that in terms of his thought process," Colangelo said. "Until we get everything to the point of a contract and we get things signed, which is going to be sometime after July 1, I think I'll sleep easy then. I think we want to continue to do the right things to impress upon him he's a huge part of the future of this organization, that he deserves to be treated as a big part of the future. He has proven himself as a quality player, but more importantly, he's proven himself as a quality person."

To that end, Colangelo wants to give Bosh a say when it comes to making transactions. The lines of communication, Colangelo stressed, will be open.

"I think Chris has proven to this organization he deserves to give input to major decision making," Colangelo said. "What I'm about is building consensus. I always have been. I want to know the key people, the key stakeholders to buy into the process ... To be very specific, I think Chris deserves that attention."

Bosh, meanwhile, likes everything he hears.

"This is what I want," he said. "I have that chance right now.

"Obviously, I'm going to give it a shot."


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