As the face of the Raptors franchise, Chris Bosh is preparing to face the music today.
The beginning of all-star weekend begins with the prerequisite media availability involving the stars who have been picked to participate in the mid-season showcase.
A knee injury will prevent Bosh from playing in Sunday's game, but he's far from exempt from the ongoing guessing game regarding his future.
Bosh will say all the right things, though he admits he'll carefully choose his words when he gets grilled at a downtown Phoenix hotel.
Every U.S.-based media outlet has Bosh leaving Toronto when he's eligible to opt out of his deal next summer.
It's just that Bosh has never made his intentions known and nor should he.
There will come a time when he and GM Bryan Colangelo will sit face to face to discuss the future, in all likelihood this summer when the club can begin to properly gauge Bosh's long-term interest.
Whenever Bosh's future gets bandied about, there are invariable comparisons to the past cornerstone players who have left Toronto.
The U.S. media seems to think that players such as Damon Stoudamire, Marcus Camby, Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter bolted Hogtown because they hated the city.
It's the furthest from the truth.
Stoudamire left because, essentially, he was brainwashed by Isiah Thomas.
Once Thomas failed in his ownership end-around, Stoudamire asked to be traded.
Ask Mighty Mouse now of his decision and he expresses considerable regret.
Camby left because the Raptors were able to acquire Charles Oakley from the Knicks, which to this day remains the most significant trade in Raptors history.
McGrady left because he wanted to be the man, but he couldn't given the mantle was given to Carter, his distant cousin.
Carter's case is a little more tricky given the franchise coddled him too much and gave him too much say in the team's direction.
In the end, though, he wanted out because the team wasn't winning.
Ask all of the aforementioned players to give their impressions of Toronto and none will say a discouraging word.
If they do, they're lying.
Bosh has always been a stand-up individual and wants nothing more than to win.
He's not expected to give the media today any fodder, but Bosh knows what's coming.
He'll politely answer questions regarding the health of his knee and the health of the club, which enters the break at 21-34 and in second-last place in the East.
Somehow, though, the newshounds will twist Bosh's words and try to goad him into saying something to suit their agendas.
But Bosh is too smart to fall for that game.
He has been forced to shoulder a lot as a Raptor, especially this season, and today the burden of being the face of the team intensifies.
Mark this down
About half of the 30-team NBA will have cap space for the much ballyhooed summer of 2010.
There are a few impactful free agents, either restricted or unrestricted, who will be available this summer.
Mavs owner Mark Cuban agreed to a Q and A with website dallasbasketball.com and had the following comment regarding what he thinks will occur this summer.
"In '09, it could be a nuclear winter. I think we'll see a lot of guys, anticipating 2010 and also with an eye to a new collective bargaining agreement, sign one-year deals," he said. "While everybody is clearing room for 2010, I'm looking for bargains for '09. As people wait to make their move in 2010, there could be a lot of one-year deals.''
Robert Sarver of the Phoenix Suns and Michael Heisley of the Memphis Grizzlies have recently taken the term meddling owners to a new extreme.
Each owner is trying to engineer trades, even though neither knows much about basketball.
It was three years ago this month when Sarver basically forced Colangelo out of the desert.
Depending on what trades the Suns make prior to next Thursday's deadline, it wouldn't surprise anyone if Steve Nash asks out.
"I'm responsible for the organization, just like any CEO is with business,'' Sarver told the Arizona Republic.
"As such, with major decisions, I'll be significantly involved and will continue to be."
Heisley, meanwhile, has inquired about Phoenix forward Amare Stoudemire.