Bosh envisions playoff appearance

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:58 AM ET

Now that he is a very, very rich man, Chris Bosh is not about to pull a Rob Babcock.

Instead of emulating the ex-Raptors general manager and predicting trouble for the franchise -- as Babcock did before last season when he told the Toronto Sun's Steve Buffery the team had a good chance of losing more games than the previous year -- Bosh is taking the opposite approach.

"As long as we take it one game at a time and always make sure we just do what we're supposed to do every game and try to win every game, we'll be in the playoffs (this season)," the NBA all-star said yesterday after signing a three-year (plus a one-year player option) $43-million US extension that keeps him in Toronto through 2009-10.

"We're in the Eastern Conference, you know how that is."

It became clear yesterday that Bosh, 22, has become a key member in president/ general manager Bryan Colangelo's fan club. While Bosh raised eyebrows last month when he said he didn't really feel eventual draft pick Andrea Bargnani would bring the necessary ingredients to the team, he has come around on the big Italian and is giving a huge endorsement to Colangelo.

"I think it was the collective thing, it wasn't one thing," Bosh said when asked what has made him feel so good about the summer makeover. "When (Colangelo) started making some moves and then he got the No. 1 pick, things were looking up for us. I had a lot of people in my circle back home, we were high-fiving each other all the time every move (saying): 'This is looking good, this is looking good.' "

Many have suggested Bosh wouldn't have been involved in a news conference like yesterday's if not for Colangelo. While he didn't confirm that, he didn't deny it, either.

"I don't know, I'm not a hypothetical person really," said Bosh, who donated $1 million of his new riches to charity. "What happened happened. What happened was inevitable. They made a very good choice in choosing Bryan and I'm glad he's here."

The latest move, acquiring Philadelphia 76ers guard/ forward John Salmons in a sign-and-trade, beating out the far-more-successful Phoenix Suns with the offer, might be a sign that Toronto no longer is the Siberia of the NBA. That, said Bosh, is very important.

"People want to come here," he said. "I think that's a big stepping stone. The little stereotype around the league kind of hurt this organization in getting players in prior years. But we're changing that. It's time for a change."

Indeed, it is. But there remains room for one familiar face.

"We're talking about solidifying the future of the franchise and addressing something in finality we talked about as the primary goal or the off-season priority of this basketball staff," Colangelo said. "It's actually the first thing I outlined for the ownership here when I was looking at the opportunity. First and foremost (he said then), I've got to know we're all committed to Chris Bosh."

Now, Bosh is officially the face of the franchise for the next four years.

"I'm just looking forward to the future," Bosh said, "and I think the future is very positive for the franchise."

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THE DEAL WITH ... THE BOSH DEAL

A look at Chris Bosh's contract:

- Biggest Raptors contract since Vince Carter's six-year extension in 2001.

- Three-year deal for $43 million US, plus player option on fourth year.

- Opted against signing five-year deal because CBA will have expired by then.

- Similar to deals signed by fellow 2003 draft class stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, who both passed on five-year deals.

- Led Raptors in scoring last season, with 22.5 points and 9.2 rebounds a game, and earned a spot on the Eastern Conference all-star team for the first time.


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