There is one person pretty sure Chris Bosh won't be playing for any team other than the Toronto Raptors after the Feb. 18 NBA trade deadline: Chris Bosh.
The Raptors had the day off yesterday after their 106-104 win over the New York Knicks last Thursday, the team's fourth in a row. They have a chance to extend that streak to five Sunday at the Air Canada Centre against the Indiana Pacers.
But the NBA rumour mill never stops. Before Bosh left for New York, the Raptors' all-star forward was asked if he expected to be traded. He said simply: "I doubt it."
Asked if he wanted to be dealt, the pending free agent was more emphatic. "No, no, no, no," he said.
Told of Bosh's comments, team president Bryan Colangelo said he wasn't surprised, adding his position regarding his team's most valuable player hasn't varied. "I have no intention to move him and have absolutely every intention to keep him long term," he said.
Colangelo added he expects Raptors owner Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment Ltd. is prepared to become a tax team if it's required to maintain a competitive position in the NBA's Eastern Conference.
"They want to win and they're committed," Colangelo said. "I'll leave it at that."
The Raptors have a payroll of $67.8-million (U.S.) this season. Teams that go over $69.2-million have to pay tax to the league on a dollar-for-dollar basis. They also forgo the opportunity to receive a refund of sorts from the tax gathered, typically about $5-million.
Next season, the league has projected the luxury tax threshold will come down considerably, as it's based on overall basketball-related revenue, which is expected to shrink in the wake of the economic downturn.
On that basis, it's almost certain the Raptors will have to pay some luxury tax as they project to have $63.5-million committed to just nine players in 2010-11.
The question will be how much tax they're willing to pay. The Raptors have the advantage of being able to offer Bosh more money and more years on his next contract than another team.
If he re-signs with Toronto, he could earn $126-million over six years, compared with $96-million over five seasons elsewhere.
Colangelo has said if Bosh was determined to leave, the general manager would be willing to organize a sign-and-trade where the Raptors would sign Bosh and then trade his rights to another team. Colangelo is confident his relationship with Bosh is such that if he does want to leave, it will enable the club to get something in return for its best player.
But as of now, it seems, Bosh is in no rush to get out of town.