- Royce Webb, Director, Content Analytics
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Although most of our experts expect LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to stay right where they are, the book on Bosh reads a little differently. He has not openly expressed a desire to leave Toronto in recent months, but he also hasn't done much to make anyone think he wants to stay. That said, the degree to which our panel of 52 NBA observers seems sure that he's leaving is surprising, as only three see CB4 staying north of the border.
New York (19 votes)
The Big Apple appears to be our best guess as the default destination for any free agent seeking a new place to land, as about one-third of our panelists see Bosh heading to New York.
Of the 19 who put Bosh with the Knicks, only a half-dozen saw him heading there in a tandem with James (four votes for LeBron and Bosh joining forces in New York) or Wade (two votes), his 2003 draftmates and U.S. Olympic teammates. The other 13 saw him taking the Knicks' bucks without James or Wade, presumably after they had decided to eschew New York. The reasoning there is fairly clear: Right now, the Knicks are not in a position to offer a max contract to two stars.
Miami (12 votes)
The Heat can retain Wade and offer Bosh the max in 2010, which makes them potent players in this saga. Of the dozen panelists who expect Bosh to join the Heat, nine see him playing alongside Wade, while three see Wade leaving and Bosh taking his place as Miami's resident star.
Chicago (4 votes)
The Bulls often have been mentioned as a potential preferred destination for Bosh, and they will have both the cap space and the motivation, given their long-standing need for a scoring big man. Certainly Chicago appears to be putting together the kind of roster that could attract a marquee free agent, although it has had trouble sealing the deal in recent years.
Dallas (3 votes)
If Bosh wants to return to his home state of Texas, the Mavs might be the best-positioned team to receive him with open arms and a roster ready to contend. Many players consider Mark Cuban the most player-friendly owner in the game and Dallas a desirable destination. But if it doesn't work out with the Mavs, don't count out San Antonio and Houston, although those teams already have big investments in star post players.
Toronto (3 votes)
Most star players don't leave, so the fact that only 5.8 percent of our panelists expect Bosh to stay in Toronto is telling, in one of two ways: Either our collective wisdom is seriously off-kilter, or we are correctly reading Bosh's signals that he's outta there.
Raptors fans had to be heartened by the enthusiasm Bosh showed when Toronto honcho Bryan Colangelo made his big moves this summer, particularly the acquisition of Hedo Turkoglu, and hopes are high for the kind of Orlando-like success that could convince Bosh that his fortunes lie in Toronto. And speaking of fortunes, let's not forget that the Raptors can offer Bosh much more than other teams can.
That said, reports from behind the scenes have led many to believe that Bosh wants to leave and, in particular, that he wants to join up with James if possible. And Bosh's public stance hasn't inspired much confidence in his desire to wear Raptors red beyond this coming season, either, as he has expressed little passion about staying and has eschewed any attempts to get his autograph on a contract extension.
This much we know: A lot can happen between now and next summer to influence Bosh and the rest of the potential 2010 free agents. But our best guess right now is that Bosh is heading south. Sorry, Canada.
Also receiving votes: Detroit (2), Houston (2), Los Angeles Lakers (2), San Antonio (2), Los Angeles Clippers (1), New Jersey (1), Phoenix (1)
Royce Webb is an NBA editor for ESPN.com.
Click below to see our forecast on other top potential 2010 free agents.
Henry Abbott (ESPN.com TrueHoop senior writer), J.A. Adande (ESPN.com senior writer), Kevin Arnovitz (ESPN.com TrueHoop Network editor), Andrew Ayres (ESPN.com NBA editor), Jon Barry (ESPN NBA analyst), Bruce Bernstein (ESPN NBA Studio Production), Alfredo Berrios (ESPN Deportes editor), Dwayne Bray (ESPN Studio Production), Jordan Brenner (ESPN Insider editor), Lisa Brooks (ESPN Stats & Information), Maurice Brooks (ESPN.com NBA editor), Chris Broussard (ESPN The Magazine senior writer), Ric Bucher (ESPN The Magazine senior writer), Michael Bucklin (ESPN Interactive Games), Kevin Calabro (ESPN NBA broadcaster), Kevin Conlon (ESPN Stats & Information), Jay Corbin (ESPN The Magazine editor), Chad Ford (ESPN Insider senior writer), LZ Granderson (ESPN The Magazine senior writer), John Hollinger (ESPN Insider senior writer), Jade Hoye (ESPN Multimedia), Michael Jackson (ESPN Stats & Information), Scoop Jackson (ESPN Page 2 columnist), Avery Johnson (ESPN NBA analyst), Eric Karabell (ESPN.com senior writer), Rob King (ESPN.com editor-in-chief), Seth Landman (ESPN Fantasy basketball writer), Tim Legler (ESPN NBA analyst), Nancy Lieberman (ESPN NBA analyst), Keith Lipscomb (ESPN Fantasy basketball analyst), Patricia Lowry (ESPN NBA Event Production), Mike Lynch (ESPN Stats & Information), Eric Neel (ESPN.com senior writer), Pete Newmann (ESPN Stats & Information), Chris Palmer (ESPN The Magazine NBA writer), Greg Pike (ESPN NBA Studio Production), Chris Ramsay (ESPN.com NBA coordinator), Dr. Jack Ramsay (ESPN NBA analyst), Adam Reisinger (ESPN DB editor), Bob Salmi (ESPN NBA analyst), Chris Sheridan (ESPN Insider senior writer), Marc Stein (ESPN.com NBA senior writer), Patrick Stiegman (ESPN.com VP/Executive editor), Otto Strong (ESPN The Magazine NBA editor), Mark Summer (ESPN NBA Studio Production), David Thorpe (ESPN Insider NBA analyst), Justin Verrier (ESPN.com NBA editor), Bill Walton (ESPN NBA analyst), Royce Webb (ESPN.com NBA editor), Josh Whitling (ESPN Fantasy Basketball writer), Matt Winer (ESPN NBA anchor) and Matt Wong (ESPN.com NBA editor).
5dEthan Sherwood Strauss
6dMatt Walks, ESPN.com