Should one of the myriad of rumours be true ó and Chris Bosh is on his way to the Miami Heat ó then Bryan Colangelo will have only himself to blame.
It was his deal back in February, 2009 that sent Jermaine OíNeal and his monster contract packing that has provided the Heat with the salary cap flexibility and strength to take a run at the Raptors best player in either a free agent signing or a sign-and-trade arrangement.
And if not Bosh, the Heat can take a run at LeBron James or whomever else the Raptors canít even think about.
The deal with the Heat two seasons back led to the eventual and expensive acquisition of Hedo Turkoglu, that now has the Raptors in this incomprehensible and almost helpless position as the greatest free-agent class in sports history begins to unfold Thursday.
Bad enough that the Raptors traded away OíNealís mammoth contract, which by Colangelo standards and foresight, was an odd move to make. As boss, he is usually thinking about today, tomorrow and next year all at the same time. The OíNeal deal was all about one season. The future óand what is the Raptors future? ó be damned.
Probably, he was trying to find a way to keep Bosh by making the Raptors competitive immediately: The logic was there; the execution was not.
The contract of OíNeal was turned into Shawn Marion by trade, who was turned into Turkoglu, who has turned into an overpaid malcontent taking up too much financial space on a team in need of some assistance. And if thatís not troubling enough, trying to make sense of the NBA salary cap with all its nuances has been historically challenging for anything that would seemingly enhance the Raptors fortunes in Toronto.
This is what is bothersome about the NBA salary cap. The Raptors have the money to re-sign Bosh (even though he wonít stay here). But under the cap, they donít have the money to sign his replacement.
How can you afford one and not the other?
Because the cap says so. And how either side, players or management, agreed to situations like this that benefit neither, is as mind-boggling as is much of the cap language.
Either way, the Raptors could not have approached this needy time of grand opportunity in worse condition.
Some of the best and worst managed teams in the NBA are waiting for the buzzer to go off to signal the opening of the free-agent season. This is hunting season, but the Raptors donít have a license.
The greatest sale in sports history is about to begin and their credit card is being denied.
This is not what you should expect from Colangelo, who should be beyond these kind of miscalculations. Itís not quality management to lose your best asset without the ability to replace him in any meaningful way.
Itís not quality management when the entire sport is gearing up for the free agent class of 2010 and the Raptors are playing the part of bystander.
Itís not quality management to trade away a 2010 expiring contract, take back a terrible contract like the one belonging to Marcus Banks and then flip your first-round draft pick in the process.
And that part hardly comes up in all the talk about Bosh, who said on Wednesday on his website: ďThis has always been my dream. I get to live the dream.Ē
The Raptors and their supporters get to live the nightmare. Bad enough that Bosh may wind up in Miami. But if somehow, the Raptors find a way to make the playoffs this coming season, the Heat not only will get the Raptorsí best player, they will also get back a lottery protected Raptors first-round draft pick for 2011.
That was part of the OíNeal deal. Not the worst part. The worst part was providing an Eastern Conference rival with the kind of flexibility the Raptors donít have for themselves. And who knows? Maybe the Raptors get their own pick back in a sign-and-trade deal for their only all-star.