While most are calling it the Summer of LeBron, common sense indicates it will be an invitation-only affair, with New jersey
last week unapologetically discarding Richard Jefferson to get to the front of the 2010 cap-space line should James fall out of love with Cleveland.
No, for the Heat, that never appeared to be the legitimate target of Pat Riley and his own cap-clearance sales. The Heat doesn't need someone taking shots away from Wade; it needs someone to make those shots easier to create.
Enter Bosh, the lithe-but-crafty Olympic power forward who happens to have the same agent as Wade.
That's what makes last week's other noteworthy trade of a veteran so significant.
In rolling the dice on Jermaine O'Neal, the Raptors
are essentially buying time with Bosh, trying to get him to the 2010 offseason in the best frame of mind.
Is O'Neal on the downside? Overpaid? Injury prone? Yes, yes and yes. But he also stands to do something other recent Toronto big men such as Andrea Bargnani, Rasho Nesterovic, Rafael Araujo, Loren Woods and Aaron Williams, could not—take the inside pressure off Bosh.
It had better work. Because the NBA reality is that no one stays in Toronto — not Tracy McGrady, not Vince Carter, not even Alonzo Mourning for a single game.
With the Heat, by contrast, Bosh
would help balance the offense with Wade, seemingly could coexist with Michael Beasley, and would round out a skilled core for years to come.
By then (the Raptors
hope), the Heat might address such a need through deals with Carlos Boozer or Elton Brand in the 2009 offseason (if not sooner).
If not, common sense says Riley is stashing max money for someone who works with Wade, not in place of him.
In 2003, had the Heat won its season finale in Toronto, it could have been the one drafting at No. 4 instead of the Raptors. At the time, it widely was believed that Riley would then have taken Bosh
ahead of Wade, who went at No. 5.
Now it's looking as if the plan for 2010 is to re-deal that '03 draft — and perhaps double down.