Bosh Not Ready to Commit to Team USA
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are on the fence.
Now, add Chris Bosh to the latter group as 2008 Olympians are deciding if they want to play for Team USA in next year's World Championships.
The Toronto star forward said he isn't ready to commit to going to Turkey for the event. He might not want to play next summer if his contract situation is unsettled.
"I don't know, with the possibility of becoming a free agent next year,'' Bosh said in an interview with FanHouse prior to Friday night's preseason game at Minnesota. "It's a whole bunch of things that haven't been addressed yet. ... It was fun playing in the Olympics, but it's going to take some time, though. I'm sure I'll be better able to assess the situation after the season. ... But I'm definitely considering it.''
Bosh didn't foresee any scenario other than his contract situation keeping him from going to Turkey. Bosh can opt out of his contract next summer and become a free agent.
"For the national team, (contracts are) always an issue going into competition,'' said Bosh, expected to make his preseason debut against the Timberwolves after missing the first two games with a strained left hamstring. "I know Jose (Calderon, the Raptors point guard in the summer of 2008) didn't even start practicing with the (Spanish) national team until he signed his contract. It's all about priorities and USA Basketball is right up there. But I've got to have a job.''
If Bosh opts out next summer, there will be time to sign a new deal with whichever team he chooses. Free agents can sign in the second week of July, and USA Basketball will hold training camp in the latter part of that month.
Bosh, with the salary cap likely going down and with the possibly of having to take a pay cut, might decide to not opt out of his contract, putting free agency off until 2011. Or he could sign a contract extension by June 30.
"I'm not sure,'' said Bosh, who at one point said he wouldn't consider a contract extension but now hasn't ruled it out after Toronto's strong summer. "Bryan (Colangelo, Toronto's general manager) and me haven't talked about it. We haven't even addressed it. ... We'll see how everything plays out.''
At least Bosh likes how everything played out during the offseason. The Raptors were one of the NBA's most active teams, their top moves being acquiring forward Hedo Turkoglu in a sign-and-trade, picking up free-agent guard Jarrett Jack and signing forward Andrea Bargnani to a five-year contract extension.
"(I was happy) with the aggressive nature Bryan showed with the moves,'' said Bosh, a four-time All-Star making $15.78 million this season. "Instead of saving money for next year, we locked down some guys who have a lot of potential and we got some good guys like Hedo and Jarrett Jack and a lot of good role players that can help us. It looks a little more promising, but we got to do some work.''
It will all come down to whether the Raptors, after two trips to the playoffs, can bounce back from last season's 33-49 disaster. Coach Jay Triano is optimistic they will do enough to retain Bosh.
"Our biggest goal is we want to win,'' Triano said. "And, if we win, it creates an environment in which he wants to stay. We have five of our top six guys (the others being Turkoglu, Calderon, Bargnani, Jack and rookie guard DeMar DeRozan) locked in for four or five years straight. We're hoping he's a part of it, and that's a good group to perform with.''
In the meantime, Bosh will continue to be bombarded with questions about his future. But he doesn't believe it will be a distraction.
"No, I'm used to it,'' he said. "It's been a part of my life for a year now. ... It's not really a distraction. It's only what you make it. So I'm taking everything in a positive matter, and focusing in on this season, and not focusing in on next year.''
One thing positive for Bosh is returning to good health after he tweaked his hamstring just before the start of training camp.
"My hamstring is awesome,'' said Bosh, anxious to hit the court for his preseason debut.
As for deciding whether to return to Team USA, Bosh will take his time.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.