On Sunday, someone brought to my attention a Boston Globe interview with Bryan Colangelo about the circumstances surrounding Chris Bosh’s departure from Toronto and the Raptors rebuild in general.

You can find the Gary Washburn piece, in its entirety, here.

What I wanted to briefly discuss are Colangelo’s opinions that Bosh was not and is not a top-tier player and that losing Bosh and being able to start fresh may have been the best thing that could have happened to the Raptors.

First, on Bosh’s status and rank in the NBA. Colangelo had this to say: “Even if there was an open market similar to what’s gone on with [Carmelo Anthony] last year and Chris Paul this year and Dwight Howard, he’s not that caliber of player. It’s just that simple.

Yes, Bryan, yes it is. When Colangelo slammed Bosh’s willingness to play through injury towards the end of his last season in Toronto, a lot of people considered Colangelo’s comments those of pure bitterness and a sore loser, but this time, you can’t argue with the man.

It’s no secret that Bosh, while a very good player and a perennial All Star, is not a top-tier NBA player by any stretch of the imagination. He is probably not even in most people’s NBA top-10 right now.

Depending on how you rank NBA players, most would agree that Bosh is a tier-two or even tier-three guy, so Colangelo’s just being honest here.

Now, could the Raptors have received more for Bosh than what they got (draft picks and a trade exception)? Sure they could have, but Bosh had decided he was going to Miami, so unless you really wanted the enormous waste of space and talent that is Michael Beasley or really wanted the Raptors to use the large exception just for the sake of using it, then really, it’s hard to complain about getting picks instead of nothing.

The next quote from Colangelo I wanted to get to, and perhaps the most intriguing one, was this: “As long as we weren’t strapped with a $126 million contract and the inability to really build around the player, we feel like this is probably the best thing that could have happened to us.

How many franchises in pro sports would say that losing the franchise’s all-time leading scorer for almost nothing was the best thing that could have happened to them? On the surface, it sounds crazy, and a lot of Colangelo doubters will likely play the quote off as BC throwing his usually slanted spin on things.

But again, I ask, isn’t Bryan just being honest? I mean come on, don’t tell me you haven’t thought about this yourself. Had the Raptors retained Bosh, they would have continued to be either a fringe playoff team or a disappointing bubble team. In other words, they would have been a perennial middle of the pack team on a treadmill, heading nowhere fast.

With Bosh as the cornerstone, Toronto never would have been close to good enough to compete for a championship but yet they probably wouldn’t be bad enough to be in serious contention for franchise changing draft picks either. They’d also have limited salary cap flexibility with a maximum contract being taken up by a non max player, and in the NBA, that’s a deadly combination.

Had Bosh stayed, the Raptors would likely still be looking at a core of Bosh, Bargnani, Calderon and DeMar DeRozan for the next few years, with little help coming in the form of very high picks or big money acquisitions.

Without Bosh, the Raptors now have a future-oriented core of DeRozan, Ed Davis and Jonas Valanciunas, with a high pick in a loaded draft class expected this season and $10-20 million in cap space expected for next season. Those content with mediocrity might choose the first option, but smarter basketball people with an eye to the future would almost certainly choose the second.

Whether Colangelo haters or Bosh fanatics want to admit it or not, the fact is that ridding themselves of Bosh and being given the opportunity to truly rebuild for the first time in years was the best thing that could have happened to the Raptors.

The last intriguing Colangelo quote from the Boston Globe interview is this: “We’re working on laying the foundation for the ramp-up and the ramp-up probably begins in earnest next year.” I think a lot of fans have kind of wondered what the actual plan in place is for the current rebuild in terms of a timeline, and Colangelo sheds some light on that question with this quote.

Does expecting this team to start the real climb towards excellence next season go against the very rebuilding project we’ve all been praising, or is Colangelo right in assuming that the additions of Valanciunas, another draft pick, cap space and a full season under Dwane Casey’s wizardry will finally turn this franchise around long-term?

Comments (15)

  1. The question is whether the Raps could have gotten more for Bosh if they’d pulled a mid-season trade akin to what the Nuggets did with Melo and the Jazz did with Deron Williams that would have fetched far more than they got from Miami. If so, Colangelo screwed up, or he was lying back then when he said he made no trade because he was holding out hope that Bosh would return to the team.

    • In the same Boston Globe article, Colangelo talks about how Bosh never insinuated that he wanted to leave and actually made it seem like he wanted to stay. Still, you could definitely ask, if Colangelo was never sold on him as a legit franchise player, then why did it matter whether Bosh wanted to leave or not? Why not just trade him mid-season him for assets anyway, as you suggested. There will always be questions surrounding what exactly happened in Bosh’s final few months in Toronto.

      • Exactly. This is what frankly pisses me off about Colangelo.

        If that was his opinion on the matter, why didn’t he trade Bosh years in advance of his free agency. Clearly Bargnani was a key piece for the future, and Bosh and Bargnani absolutely did not compliment each other in any way. Based on that logic alone, it would have been an easy move, and Bosh certainly could have netted some solid picks and young talent.

        Colangelo really reminds me of a politician. He doesn’t need to make sense, because he knows how to work the majority over with his words.

        I’m not even saying that he’s a terrible GM, as he clearly has talent and ability. That said, I can’t stand his mud slinging and political tactics. Just do your job and build a winning basketball team.

        • You really have no idea what goes on behind closed doors. To trade Bosh would mean taking on salary. Also the fact he was a free agent and there would only be a few teams to trade with. Im not saying he did or didnt mess it up. Things now are starting to look promising. It will be interesting to watch this team grow.

          • Are you saying you couldn’t have traded Bosh in ’08 for a couple rookie and/or midlevel deals and draft picks? Does that type of deal not happen?

            What I’m saying is that Colangelo had years to trade this “burden” of a tier-3 talent that he couldn’t build around. So really, he either didn’t have the foresight or gumption to pull the trigger on such a deal.

            Bosh, while appreciated enough, wasn’t ever considered by Raptors fans to be an untouchable. Even if some did feel that way, it’s up to Colangelo as the GM to be ahead of the game.

            Clearly the real truth was that Colangelo had a flawed vision of building a team around two finesse power-forwards. When that didn’t work, and one jumped ship, he’s decided to shift the blame away from himself, using whatever smear tactics he can.

            How people can let five years of poor roster design slide, and accept the “architects” finger pointing, I don’t know.

  2. It still makes him sound like a sore loser because he was hell bent on bringing Bosh back and was more than willing to cripple the team by locking a “second tier” star to a max deal. What does that say about BC that he was actually trying to re-sign a player who he is so critical of now?

    He’s a gutless GM who tried to make the safe move both times ie keep Bosh through the trade deadline in 2010 even though there was little chance he’d resign in the summer just because the team was holding onto a playoff spot and then tried like hell to re-sign him in the summer because he had no idea what the alternative would be before being forced into a “rebuild”.

  3. On a side note, hopefully this highlights the fact that the Raptors need a high draft pick in the next draft. Trying to go forward with the talent the Raptors have right now will only take them back to where they were with Bosh. Trying to build around decent talent, but not elite talent, which means perennially fighting for a playoff spot, instead of trying to actually contend.

  4. These comments only get funnier and more ridiculous when you look at how hard he’s tried to make the Bargnani thing work.

  5. Why even use the phrases “Colangelo haters” or “Bosh fanatics”?

    You don’t have to be either one to see that Colangelo was forced into this. I know, he’s doing his whole used car salesman spiel about how great it’s worked out but by all accounts, this is not something he wanted to do even though he’s trying to make it sound like he did. He was spurned by Bosh, he didn’t spurn Bosh.

  6. Joe, The Raptors do not just have a core of JV, DD and the next draft pick, but also… Andrea Bargnani. You remember # 7?

  7. Colangelo would’ve been basically forced into resigning Bosh for the max if he had wanted to stay. When has a player of Bosh’s calibre ever been turned down for wanting too much money? A first option on a playoffish team… Had BC turned down Bosh’s demand for a max contract he wouldn’t have been resigned, but had Bosh taken the offer and the Raptors continued as a treadmill team, he would’ve been gone anyway.

    I believe that Colangelo wanted to trade Bosh but wouldn’t of gotten enough of a return to make the suits happy with the belief Bosh was coming back. Bosh never requested a trade. If he was truthful he would’ve asked for one with a promise of a rental with potential of resigning(which still would’ve been a lie since he was going to team up with Wade and LeBron anyway, but still).

    Had Bosh asked for a trade, we could’ve gotten pieces. He wasn’t being moved otherwise. MLSE wouldn’t let it happen without taking BC’s job. Find me a player of Bosh’s calibre on a team similar to the Raptors who got moved for decent pieces in the last 20 years. Melo/Paul/Deron happened after, as a result of what happened with LeBron and Bosh, so they’re out.

    Colangelo isn’t an idiot. He’s been tinkering with lineups around Bosh since he got here and nothing worked. Nothing worked because Bosh isn’t a franchise player/first option. He’s a second option, third in Miami with the other players in front of him being All-Time Greats. The rebuild is working so far, is it not? Character development for the youth plus Jonas (who would be a top this year)plus another potential top 5 in a stacked draft that is basically two draft in one.

    And BTW, the problem Raps fans have with Bosh isn’t that he left, it’s that he left when he clearly wanted to for years and did crap like the “1st Ink” DVD.

    REP T DOT TIL’ FREE AGENCY

  8. This is another one of those “what if” questions akin to the OTR show with tmac carter and oakley a few months back. Who knows? Perhaps Bosh, with a present-day derozan, a calderon and bargs playing at current level, along with dwayne casey culture could become a 3rd 4th 5th seed playoff team, just like how the current raps team are playing well above expectations. Remember also, we would’ve gotten Ed Davis regardless of if Bosh left or not. So, aside from jonas, who of significance did we really trade for or drafted that is on our roster that would not be here if Bosh stayed? James Johnson? Bayless?

    Point is unless BCaces his next draft and uses the cap space effectively, we are currently worse off with bosh gone; and as-of-yet there is no indication that we will become better than if he had stayed in the 2013 season.

  9. Basically the way I see it, Bosh could have stayed. But once again Bryan Colangelo became Rob Babcock part two. He came and destroyed the Raptor environment by wasting the overall #1 draft pick on Bargnani who Colangelo is babying this guy. Not to mention that Bryan has been stuck on this dumb Bargnani project. See, when Glen Grunwald was Raptors GM, he knew he made mistakes but was man enough to come out to center court and address them and admit those mistakes to the Raptor fans. Bryan on the other hand hides is dumb ass pride like everything is going well. Like come on. He went and fired Raptors only coach of the year winner Sam Mitchell after an 8-9 start and why? Because of Bargnani crying like a bitch. Then it did not stop there. Wasting $50 million on Andrea then $53 million on Turkgolu and giving Jay Triano a contract extension. That is what forced Bosh to leave. Colangelo was like Babcock & Richard Peddie who ran Vince Carter out of Toronto. We could have kept Bosh and got better players. Guys we could have drafted are elsewhere as all-stars. MLSE are totally responsible for all this. and Colangelo gets an extension?! The only rebuilding the Raptors are doing is building a brick house in the toilet more like taking a big blood monkey crap!!!!

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