Well now math supports what I have felt for a long time. The Raptors will have 6 games to finish up before the most interesting and important off-season in Raptors history. Chris Bosh and his future will be issue number one. Bosh of late seems very unlike a guy that wants to get on the first bus, plane or train out of town. He has come out in support of Jay Triano. No need to do that or have an opinion if you don't plan on staying. While in New York he was questioned about 2010 and came back with an answer about how he loves Toronto. I am not saying that means a lot. After all Vince Carter still to this day I believe is on the record saying that he loves Toronto. Damon Stoudamire still loves the city as well. He did say he regrets leaving Toronto. It is hard to know what Bosh will do. But Colangelo is going to find out. You already have money invested Jose Calderon. Andrea Bargnani will eventually have to be re-signed. Given his play this year and the signs of progression he has shown it seems likely Raptors will want to do that. That is in the future but if you sign Bosh to a max deal or close to it. The Raptors would be invested in a 3 players. Add in the fact of a decline in NBA revenues and a likely decrease in the cap and tax threshold. It makes these choice made in the next couple years even more important. Can a big 3 of Bosh,Calderon and Bargnani produce a championship? I am not convinced of that personally. Raptors struggles were based on a number of things but one near the top of that list was a lack of the depth. If you have so much invested in 3 guys it seems unlikely you can add to that depth. It would seem unless teams are willing to pay the tax the era of the Big 3 may be coming to an end in the NBA not just in Toronto but everywhere. Just something to think about.
Jay Triano and his future seems like it may be somewhat secure for next season and that seems odd. I hope that I am wrong on the Triano but what I think really doesn't matter. I just look at it like this, if we could sign say an Eddie Jordan can anyone make the debate that he is not more qualified? You could make the same argument for a number of other candidates. The one guy that would not apply to is Messina. The Euro coach has been rumoured to be tied to the Raptors. Joe Casciaro wrote a good feature on him on the Court Surfing Live Blog. I admit to not knowing a lot about Messina but here is what I know thanks to old fashion common sense. They say it takes Euro players a few years to adjust to the North American game. So the same would apply to coaches as well it would seem only logical right? Look had how badly NCAA coaches have bombed out in the NBA for proof. Messina would only be the right choice if this team is truly starting over from square one and was not concerned about winning in the next couple seasons. Does that sound anything like Bryan Colangelo in the least. Doesn't to me. I think Colangelo believes he can re-tool this team and get them back in the playoffs fast. A coach that has never coached in the league let alone North America is not going to be able to do that in the short term sorry but I am unconvinced. It would be like taking a NFL coach and throwing him into the CFL with no experience coaching in the league. Hey that is what the Argos did isn't it? But in football he at least has a larger support staff to help make the transition.
There is also the tough choices on existing players and if they will or should return. I have talked a lot about that already. It is in my view the only player I would bring back not under contract next year is Pops Mensah-Bonsu. I would consider Shawn Marion but I am unconvinced he would consider Toronto. I think if a player is going to take a huge pay cut than he is more likely to go to a contender. If a guy goes somewhere based on cash alone you have to be concerned and it also is not a wise move for your cap in the long term. If Bryan Colangelo could get a do over would he have signed Jason Kapono for the amount he did? I am thinking no.
There is also a great unknown for both management and players. That is the fact that after 2010 you have 2011 and that may reshape the NBA far greater than 2010 will. No matter where Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and other sign, The CBA will still expire the next season. That given the sad state of the economy of the NBA could bring major and sweeping changes to the NBA. Not even David Stern knows what will happen at the end of that. However you can bet that the CBA as it is written now will not look anything like the one that will be in place after that next one is signed. There is a real chance of a long a bitter fight to get that signed. A work stoppage and a lock out or strike is a real possibility. That is something that should be in the back of the head of all NBA G.M's going forward into 2010 and beyond. What may seem like a fantastic move today could be looked at 3 or 4 years from now as a major mistake.
People may have lost faith in Bryan Colangelo but he is always someone who sees the big picture and if you don't think these things are on his mind moving forward you have no idea about Colangelo. So the unknown for the Raptors this off-season is just the beginning of a lot of unknown years for the entire league. This will be very interesting times moving forward. I know a lot of time MLSE is not exactly loved by the Raptor fan base or by me at times. That being said the way things are looking in the NBA these days the fact that the Raptors have secure ownership and I would think are profitable is no minor thing. They do get some things wrong but the fact that they have deep pockets is a good thing.