The NBA’s trade deadline is now just a little more than 1 month away.
On-line talk is beginning to purcolate concerning the eventual long term destinations for the marquee players of the Free Agent Class of 2010, e.g. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, Tracy McGrady, etc.
One of the best NBA-related blogs is The Wages of Wins Journal, authored by David Berri. This is his perspective on Chris Bosh’s situation with the Toronto Raptors:
Mixed messages on Chris Bosh
Examining the numbers for the individual players reveals that the change we observe with respect to Bosh’s production explains virtually all of the team’s improvement. In other words, if Bosh maintained what he was doing last year, the Raptors – after all the changes made this summer — should have expected to win about 13 of their first 39 games. And that mark would rank Toronto among the Pacers, Wizards, Pistons, and Sixers. So if Bosh doesn’t improve, the Raptors are looking at the NBA lottery.
With Bosh improving, though, the Raptors have a good chance of making the playoffs. And if that happens, Bosh has a good chance of experiencing a first round exit for the third time in his career.
Yes, Bosh had yet to experience much team success with the Raptors. Hence one suspects he might depart Toronto this summer. And consequently, the Raptors have an incentive to trade him now.
A Super Dynasty with Bosh?
One possible destination is the LA Lakers. It has been suggested that the Lakers send Andrew Bynum to the Raptors for Bosh (other players would have to be added to make the trade work, but Bynum and Bosh are the key players in the trade). Such a proposal has apparently caused Andrew from Waiting for Next Year – a blog about Cleveland sports – a great deal of consternation. Andrew explores how the Bynum-Bosh trade could happen and then concludes: “This deal would seemingly turn the Lakers into a super dynasty and give the Cavaliers little chance of being able to overcome the Lakers’ supremacy.”
I read this sentence before I looked at what Bosh had done this season. Since I knew that Bosh and Bynum produced at similar levels prior to this season, when I first read Andrew’s take on this proposal I had a hard time believing that such a trade would shift the balance of power in the NBA significantly.
But seeing what Bosh is doing this year, I guess there’s some reason for the other contenders in the NBA to be a bit nervous about a Bynum for Bosh trade. For example, if Bynum was playing at Bosh’s level this year, the Lakers would be on pace to win about 64 games, or about six more projected wins than we currently see (and if Gasol was healthy, this projection is even higher). And a Lakers team on pace to win 64 games would currently be the best team in the NBA.
There are two issues, though, to consider. First of all, Bosh has never produced at this level in the past. And if Bosh reverts to what we saw before this year – as I just noted — than the Lakers would not really be getting much more than what they are getting from Bynum.
Furthermore, even if Bosh does maintain what he is doing this year, a 64 win team is hardly an insurmountable dynasty. The Cavaliers are currently on pace to win 59 games this year, and the difference between 64 and 59 wins isn’t really that great. Yes, the Cavs would have to do a bit more to close to the gap. But the gap could be closed (and even if it isn’t closed, it’s more than possible for a slightly worse team to win an NBA playoff series).
So although I think a Bynum-Bosh trade could make the Lakers the favorite to win in 2010, I don’t think the Lakers would be over-whelming favorites or a super dynasty.
Let me close with more thought on the Lakers. If it’s true the Lakers are considering this move, it does tell us something about how the Lakers currently evaluate their own team. There are pundits who believe the Lakers are already “the dominant team” in the NBA. The fact that the Lakers are pursuing Bosh (that is, if they are) suggests the Lakers may not believe they are currently dominating the NBA (or maybe — since this is about mixed messages — this doesn’t mean that).
… and, this, right here:
IMO, 25 is still a touch below the peak performance years of an elite level NBA player.
In all likelihood, Chris Bosh will continue to mature and, in the process, improve “his game” physically, mentally, emotionally and skill-wise. When he reaches 27-28 he will be at his zenith and, if teammed with the right cast of characters [i.e. owner, GM, coaches and players], be in position … relative to his peers … to seriously challenge for a NBA title, as a Core Player on a squad with Quality Depth throughout its line-up.
There’s a fine piece of Canadian Literature, by Morley Callaghan, titled, “More Joy In Heaven.”
It deals with The Cycle of Life and those who fail to recognize the following truisms:
i. The young and naive depend on others to survive.
ii. As maturity sets in, the young and naive begin to learn what life gives up and, therefore, by necessity, begin to develop their own sense of intelligence. When this happens, they actually become “smarter” than they were before.
iii. For some, when they think that they’ve reached the stage of full maturity, they’ve actuallyt become so smart that they realize what the world is really all about is dealing with harshness and the need for self-preservation/self-interest, at all costs. Hypocrisy abounds and what something looks like on the surface is rarely, if ever, what it actually is … when examined in-depth, “up close & personal”, in an objective way. Once they reach THIS stage, they elect to go no further.
iv. For others, however, there is a different path which still lies ahead, beyond the concrete [and, therefore, limited] reality of the three-dimensional world. At this stage, they are fully aware of the hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy which exists in everyday life, the need for “smartness” in decision-making, and the perceived need for an actual lack of naivete, if the goal is to Survive & Conquer. What these individuals choose to do next is very curious and involves a form of “wilful regression”, so-to-speak … which harkens back to their early days of life when they had no choice but to “trust in the inherent goodness of others”, as without that, in the first place,
[i] What does one really have? and,
[ii] How valuable is IT really?
in the grand scheme of things.
The key difference this time around, though, is that these “smarter-and-yet-still-naive” psychologically mature individuals know full well what life really gives up and that there is little true value to be gained by growing rich, in any sense, on the back of moral bankruptcy, while losing one’s soul, in the process.
It’s a wonderful short story which speaks to the nature of human intelligence, ruthless objectivity, and what actually is … in the world in which we live.
IMO, the Lakers’ ownership is committed to Andrew Bynum and has no intention of trading him this season.
If they do acquire Chris Bosh, however, and insert him in a Five-Man Unit that looks like this:
Kobe/PG + Artest/OG + Odom/SF + Gasol/PF + Bosh/C
[supported by the likes of Shannon Brown, Sasha Vujacic, Luke Walton and Josh Powell]
it would instantly become the very best one in the entire NBA.
is just some of what yours truly thinks about the matter.