The Only Pitch the Raptors Should Be Making to Bosh...
We've all resigned ourselves to the fact that Bosh is most likely leaving. But he's willing to listen to the Raptors' pitch (which has already at least begun with their early morning presentation), and at this point the only hope they have of retaining him is a hail mary. Bosh knows the situation in Toronto inside out, and so in my opinion, here is the only pitch the Raptors should be making, and the only one that has any hopes of succeeding.
1. Admit failure - as a management team we have failed in the past 7 years to build around you. We committed to doing so, but none of our gambles or moves really panned out and as such we have failed at building around you. (Note: I am not saying here that he is blameless but nothing I've said above is really false, and this will get his attention). We are not done trying, however, and here's why.
2. MLSE has committed to paying luxury tax for the right circumstances. In order for us to meet our mutual goals of winning a championship, we need to surround you with talent like we've never had playing with you before. This is the biggest free agent class in history, in terms of talent, and we are confident we can find high-level talent to complement you. But first, we need an answer from you, and a completely honest answer. Do you want to play with a superstar, aka James/Wade? You've said you would like to and then contradicted that by saying you want to be the centrepiece - let's be honest, if you play with either of them, you will always be the complement and not the focus.
3. The ONLY place in the entire league where you will not be the complement in every sense is Toronto. Toronto fans know you inside out, and have supported you through thick and thin. Regardless of what happens, you will always hold a place above almost any other Raptor in history. Even if James or Wade join you here, and they become the focus on the court, you will still be getting equal billing here as face of the franchise, and as much attention and focus here as either of them. The established fan base will also be much rejuvenated if you decide to stay. No other place in the league offers you this because if you team up with them anywhere else, you will always be second on and off the court. Teaming up with lesser talents vastly reduces your chances at championship contention in the short term and so if you're about winning, that's not much of an option either.So what are we getting at? You want to win, but you want to be the man. There is almost no place this can happen (assuming winning = teaming up with James/Wade) in the league except for Toronto. So let's make this happen.
4. What we need to do: we need you fully on board and to commit to Toronto. Then we need to actively recruit, yourself included, Lebron James and/or Dwyane Wade. We have loads of assets to sign and trade to either the Cavs or the Heat in order to take their contracts on. We have large contracts/veterans in Calderon, Jack, Bargnani and Turkoglu, a whole slew of young talents in DeRozan, Weems, Johnson (s&t), Davis, Alabi, and Belinelli (talented without a doubt, maybe hasn't used it fully yet) and expiring contracts in Banks and Evans, not to mention future draft picks. We can easily find a package that meets salary requirements AND ensures that the other team receives some talent in return. The key here is convincing James or Wade that Toronto is the place they want to go because once that's done, we hold the leverage in offering whatever we want to the other team. We don't have to fleece them, but if one of them commit to Toronto, the ball is out of their former team's court.
5. The Pitch: so why should you do any of this? As you can attest, Toronto has a very rabid fan base. We also have untapped potential as Canada's team. In terms of endorsement and exposure, we have long strides to take. Imagine that you team up with either of those players here - almost every game will then be nationally televised in the States, greatly increasing exposure and interest for basketball in Canada. In 5-10 years, if basketball in Canada takes leaps and bounds forward, you would be a large part of the reason.
The Raptors will no longer be seen as an afterthought in the league. To add to that, international exposure will increase greatly. James and Wade have vast international followings because their games are televised internationally. Couple that with Toronto's diversity, and you have worldwide exposure with ease. All those all-star votes you weren't receiving? This will ensure you get them like T-Mac got votes simply by being on Yao's team. Casual fans in India and China will be voting for you and know who you are simply because you gain more exposure. Of course this exposure would happen anywhere, but nowhere else in the league will the hometown fans consider you #1, except in Toronto. Your story will become that of the loyal player who stuck with his franchise, recruited major talent to get better, and then took them to the top. All of this is gold for endorsement deals and would be amazing for marketing yourself.
As for the talent on the team, once we create a package to trade for one of James or Wade, we will STILL have enough assets to build around. Assuming one or both of Calderon and Turkoglu are gone, (potentially even Bargnani), and we lose 1-2 younger players, and an expiring contract or two, we STILL have everyone else mentioned plus you and Lebron/Wade. That combination alone will be enough to entice someone to sign here on the cheap. There are loads of free agents we can target to sign with the MLE and enough players who would sign for the vet's minimum to round out the roster, plus a good young set of players left over. James and Wade will never have played on teams with talent like that - neither has had a strong supporting cast along with an elite big man like you since Miami traded Shaq.
6. Summary - Staying in Toronto and recruiting James/Wade presents an opportunity for you to meet your goals of contending, increasing your exposure, having a strong and lasting legacy and not be considered the complementary player all at the same time. No other destination in the league can offer this. What we need from you is to come on board and pitch this to Lebron/Dwyane. We can work together to make the pitch, and to show you that we are committed to meeting your needs first, you can even choose not to sign unless and until we get a commitment from one of them. If all this fails, you'll still have the option of walking away or working a sign and trade with us. If this works, our management team will re-evaluate things like our coaching staff and our support staff to ensure we have the right pieces to contend now.
That's the only pitch that has any shot of working, and can realistically make us contenders now. If we're even bothering to meet with Bosh now, there is nothing else we can say or do that will even really intrigue him enough to consider us.