I was a little shocked when I read a recent headline from Sports Illustrated suggesting the Bobcats were interested in flipping their 4th pick in the upcoming draft for Chris Bosh. When I clicked on the link, it referenced a piece from Boston Globe about Tracy McGrady’s role with the Spurs. Buried at the bottom is this highly speculative four sentence blurb:
“The Charlotte Bobcats are looking to make a splash this summer and are open to trading their first-round pick in a package for an All-Star-caliber player. There are rumors the Heat will be looking to deal Chris Bosh, and the Bobcats, who are under the salary cap and could accept Bosh’s near-maximum deal, could be a prime candidate. As much as Charlotte would love to build through the draft, team officials understand they have to start winning and need a player to be the face of the franchise. Bosh could serve that purpose.”
I can’t even call that a trade rumor. No “source” is referenced. It’s a columnist saying, hey, Chris Bosh costs a lot of money and the Heat might not want him. You know who might? The Bobcats. They have cap space and could use a star. Look at the language: “could accept” and “would love” and “could serve.” There’s nothing about the two front offices actually talking. At least the DaMarcus Cousins rumor had “sources.” This is a writer saying Bosh to Charlotte might make sense, followed by a bunch of other websites repackaging the story as a trade rumor.
Legitimate rumor or not, I don’t think the trade makes sense.
Why It Doesn’t Work for Charlotte
First and foremost, it’s not financially responsible. Bosh makes $61.7 million over the next three years of his deal. Even if the Bobcats amnesty Tyrus Thomas, paying Bosh $20M per year is going to clog a salary cap they’ve been working diligently to clean up. Is Bosh worth a third of the cap, every year? Doubtful. He’s on a four year streak where his scoring and rebounding have declined each season. Sure, I would expect his scoring to take a hit when he joined forces with LeBron and Wade back in 2010, but it’s declined for three consecutive seasons in Miami. And why has he gone from 10.8 to 6.8 boards a game during that stretch? Sharing the ball with LeBron and Wade doesn’t answer that question.
So he’s 29, been in the league 10 seasons, his numbers are declining AND you have to pay him $20M per year. No thanks.
There’s another wrinkle to this deal, the highly anticipated 2014 NBA Draft. While I think Bosh is overpaid and past his prime, I’ll acknowledge he would be the best player the Bobcats have ever had. He would make them better, no question. Charlotte won 23 games last season. With improvement from their young players, it’s reasonable to think they could win 35 games next season with Bosh. Then Charlotte would likely draft between 10-14 and miss a shot at Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle etc. at the front of next year’s loaded draft.
Here’s the real question: Do you get more value out of the 4th pick in 2013 + a top 5 pick in 2014 or Chris Bosh + a 10-14th pick in 2014? I think the former.
The Bobcats tore apart a 7 seed and endured three bad seasons in a row. They didn’t intentionally suffer to rebuild a 7 seed. It wouldn’t make sense to suddenly hit the panic button and sacrifice future assets for Chris Bosh.
Why It Doesn’t Work for Miami
Miami has to win now, period. Title windows don’t stay open forever. And LeBron James could opt out of his deal at the end of next season. Their best shot at keeping his talents in South Beach is winning three consecutive titles, not trading their best big man for the 4th pick in a draft devoid of guaranteed, game-changing bigs. Will anyone in this group be better than Chris Bosh next season: Nerlens Noel, Anthony Bennett, Alex Len, Steven Adams..? No.
Miami isn’t interested in trading an All-Star for the right to develop a project. They’re trying to win titles and keep LeBron. Holding on to Bosh is their best move.
~Lewis Woodard, WFNZ Sports Radio The Fan 610 AM
Find Lewis on Twitter @LewWoodard