Before anyone stops reading this to call me uneducated, or any number of other unpleasant things, let me first make a few points.
1) I have drooled over the possibility (see below about probability) of the Kings matching up with soon-to-be free agent Chris Bosh. He is a dynamic player who is at his peak.
2) I am speaking in hypothetical to address the viewpoint of those pining for the Texas-native so please don't stop me because you believe the probability of the Kings getting Bosh is the same as me spending the night [insert latest/greatest supermodel].
3) To repeat--this is hypothetical. I am trying to address the logic of whether or not the Kings can/should pursue Bosh in light of the franchise goals.
4) This post is not meant to address the merits of the Kevin Martin trade in any way. This only addresses the merits of pursuing Chris Bosh in free agency this summer.Now to the meat and potatoes. Proceeding the trade of Kevin Martin (along with others), the Kings appear to be set with just enough room under the 2010-11 salary cap to hand out a max contract. In response to this, Sacramento fans are like a kid who received his first Benjamin for Christmas (or Lincoln if you had my childhood in a lower class family)--the fans just can't wait to spend this new money. With most fans assuming LeBron James is out of the question and Dwyane Wade similarly out of the question as well as a likely bad fit with PG Tyreke Evans, most of the Sacramento faithful have turned the eyes (with dollar signs in them) toward Door #3--PF Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors. The young PF has been a target of many fans for months, but with the financial means now to obtain the long and lanky forward, the cry for this specific free agent acquisition is getting much louder. But is this the right move? Has the trade of Kevin Martin truly cleared the path for Bosh to come to the Sacramento Kings franchise?
After the Kevin Martin trade, the Kings organization revealed one of the primary focuses of the move was age-oriented. The Kings have several key players who are 23-years old and younger--Tyreke Evans (20), Omri Casspi (21), Donte Greene (21), Spencer Hawes (21), Jon Brockman (22) and Jason Thompson (23)--and giving significant minutes to a player like Kevin Martin who is in the prime of his career did not fit into franchise's plan for the future because it took away from the minutes for the players just at the dawn of their careers. Now that Martin is gone, these players are supposedly going to receive more minutes to gain experience and each one will be given an opportunity to carve out a spot for himself (that is the assumption). With these intentions in mind, the possibility of Chris Bosh wearing royal purple in 2010 should come into question (regardless of all other factors). It would seem that a move to obtain the soon-to-be free agent would be contradictory to the stated direction of the current Kings franchise--i.e. a youth movement. Keep in mind, Bosh is no old fart by any stretch of the imagination as he is actually just under 14 months younger than the recently deported Martin, however his athletic clock is on the same period as Martin.
Just as Martin is in the prime of his career, so too is Chris Bosh in the same stage of his basketball life. While all the other key ingredients to the Kings' cake are in their early 20s, this potential free agent target will be entering his age-26 season in October 2010. By the time his max contract expires (either 5 or 6 years), Bosh would be finishing his age-31 or 32 season--coming into the downside of his career. At the same time, the core of the Kings would be just reaching their collective peaks between the ages of 26-29.
I would argue that signing Bosh to a max contract this summer would not be the most prudent move for the Kings even if I have been among those pining for him in the past few months. With the futures of Thompson and Hawes in question due to their inconsistent 2009-10 play, I would suggest the Kings should focus their efforts on building around the core of Evans, Casspi, Greene (continued development assumed) and the 2010 lottery pick. No one is suggesting the Kings should never add a significant free agent, nor is anyone suggesting that the Kings should remain in a perpetual rebuild. Wisdom, however, should be employed when discussing the prospect of a contract the size Bosh would command. I believe that wisdom mandates the Kings step back from the free agent buffet this offseason and focus on the continued development of their youth. As these youthful players continue to progress, the time will come in the summer of 2011 or 2012 to enter the free agent sweepstakes in order to find a veteran player entering his prime to push the Kings into contention for the following 5-6 years.
The positives that Bosh has over Martin is that he is a better player and he fits a much big need for the Kings--an interior presence (although not a top notch interior defender which is the biggest need for Sacramento). In terms of team direction, the Kings (are saying) they are going in one direction while Bosh represents a move in the opposite direction. I would argue that the Kings should not stray from the path of playing their young guns. Even though bringing in a free agent like Chris Bosh would be a lot of fun.