This might just work out

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:56 PM ET

Losing a perennial all-star for little or nothing in return is usually one of the most crushing blows a franchise can endure.

But it’s not out of the realm of possibility that, a few years down the line, the Raptors won’t rue the day Chris Bosh left town, the way the jettisoning of Vince Carter for peanuts nearly six years ago still rankles.

The franchise has never rebounded from Carter’s departure, but this could be different.

Crazy talk? Not necessarily.

A new collective bargaining agreement is not far off. All signs point to it being NBA judgment day — a time of reckoning, possibly following a brief lockout.

Out of that tumult will likely come a new salary structure. To protect owners from their own stupidity, six-year contracts are expected to be outlawed (owners will push for four-year deals) and the maximum salary will probably go down by a couple of million a season.

The previous CBA handcuffed a number of teams who paid their stars far too much money. Bryan Colangelo’s Phoenix Suns gave Stephon Marbury a four-year, $76-million US contract, then somehow fortuitously unloaded him to the New York Knicks. The Knicks ended up paying Marbury $22 million to not play for them in 2008-09. The Knicks gave Allan Houston $100 million, the Pacers gave Jermaine O’Neal $126.6 million and there were many others.

What did they all have in common? All the teams that handed out those deals found it hard to compete after doing so.

In order to keep Bosh, the Raptors would have had to extend him for six seasons and a cool $125 million. That would mean on a team not nearly good enough to be a contender, Bosh would be costing more than a third of the team’s salary cap. That would pretty much guarantee the Raptors would never have the cap room available to sign an enticing free agent (maybe a good thing considering the Hedo Turkoglu debacle) and Bosh’s presence would prevent the squad from bottoming out — necessary in order to draft an all-star calibre player.

With Bosh gone and an arms race underway in the East, the Raptors are all but forced to rebuild.

There is also the not-so-small issue of Bosh’s wonky knee. Bosh has spent a couple of years playing with a massive knee brace. Knees don’t get healthier with age, they deteriorate. Torontonians saw that first-hand when the game-but-lame O’Neal suited up for the Raptors.

Over the course of his seven-year career, Bosh has averaged 10 games lost because of injury. His new tag team partner, Dwyane Wade, misses 15 a year.

Miami had better win fast, because in Years 4-6, two-thirds of its cap might be sitting on the sidelines in custom suits most nights.

By that time, the rising Raptors just might pass a plummeting Heat franchise heading in the other direction.

Stranger things have happened.

ryan.wolstat@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos