Bosh says LeBron comes first
BRISTOL, Conn. -- Chris Bosh believes there will be a clear order of priority when the most-awaited free-agent period in NBA history opens at 12:01 a.m. ET July 1.
LeBron James comes first.
Everybody else comes second.
Appearing as a co-host Tuesday on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike in the Morning," the Toronto Raptors' All-Star forward and marquee piece of this summer's sparkling class of NBA free agents said when the offseason-movement window opens, the entire league, himself included, will be waiting to see what decision Cleveland's two-time MVP makes about his future.
"Am I waiting on LeBron? Pretty much," Bosh said. "I think everyone has to. I have to as well."
And although he offered no hints about his own future, Bosh believes what James does could affect everything else that goes on this summer.
"He's a great player and I would be crazy to think that all the teams that are considering him, they would talk to somebody else first," Bosh said. "I think everybody is going to be going at him first.
"They'll probably call him at 12:01," Bosh added. "Hopefully they'll call me at 12:02."
Bosh, James and Miami's Dwyane Wade are the headliners of the class who are expected to opt out of their current deals and become free agents July 1.
This is something we've kind of been talking about for four years now. And the day is finally here. It's kind of scary but it's exciting at the same time.” -- Chris Bosh
"This is something we've kind of been talking about for four years now," Bosh said. "And the day is finally here. It's kind of scary but it's exciting."
The No. 4 pick in the 2003 draft, Bosh averaged 24.0 points and 10.8 rebounds for the Raptors last season. Toronto hopes to keep Bosh, but also is preparing for the possibility of him joining another club.
Bosh told ESPN 1000's "The Waddle & Silvy Show" that Chicago certainly will be on his list.
"Chicago is a team worth checking out," Bosh said. "When you have a city like Chicago and you have young talent like Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah and a new coach like Tom Thibodeau, that's something worth looking at. I know that they are all about winning. I know that they have a winning tradition in Chicago, and I know that they're trying to get back there. We'll see what kind of pitch they have when [July 1] comes."
Bosh insisted he could return to Toronto.
"Toronto is a great place. ... They have a lot of good things going," Bosh said. "And they're definitely a team that I'm going to be looking at very hard because they can do things that other teams can't."
The Raptors can offer a six-year deal worth approximately $127 million. No other team could offer Bosh more than a five-year pact that likely would be worth about $97 million.
Bosh stressed he also would be happy alongside another elite player.
"I would like to contribute big to somebody," Bosh said. "Toronto made me their focal point and they've built around me for the last few years and just to have that feeling there, it was good, because going down into the stretch of the games I knew the ball was going to be in my hands and I knew that I was the guy who had to make my teammates better."
Bosh said he has not talked with other marquee free agents, though suggested that eventually he and James will speak.
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James has been tight-lipped about all things related to this summer, and Bosh doesn't have any insight into his thinking, either.
"I really, honestly have no idea," Bosh said. "I think he's a very business-savvy guy that wants to win a championship, so he's looking at everything from each aspect. He wants to win, but at the same time, he wants to maintain his presence in the NBA market and really the athletic market around the world because he's one of the household names."
Unlike Wade, who insists he wants to stay in Miami if the Heat return to a championship-contending level, Bosh has not offered any favorites.
He believes Wade's top choice is to stay in Miami, but hinted it's still not certain.
"He killed a lot of noise with that," Bosh said. "But at the same time, before he goes to sleep at night, he has to think of different scenarios because he's a free agent and you hold the keys to your own success, your own future. It's just something that everybody thinks about and the scenarios that you run through is crazy."
Bosh and Wade share an agent, Chicago-based Henry Thomas, who has simply advised Bosh to "be ready" for anything on July 1.
Bosh said he'll have a bag packed in case a quick visit anywhere is arranged.
"I can kind of sit back and see what's going to happen and see what decision or what way guys are going to go," Bosh said. "So when they do make that move or whatever, I can look at things better."
Much like James and Wade, Bosh is getting wooed from all possible angles, hearing from people in just about every NBA city about why he should sign there for the next five or six seasons.
At first, Bosh said, it was overwhelming.
"It's just become part of my life, a part of my everyday life," Bosh said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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