Bosh puts up a jumper over Nowitzki

Could Bosh opt for a preemptive strike?

Sam Smith of writes that the time for Miami’s Chris Bosh to pick his own fate may be coming and a scenario in which he lands in Dallas, his hometown, could be enticing.

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or its Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.

The speculation mostly has been muted because this time LeBron James refuses to say anything, and, frankly, the Heat’s quest for a third consecutive title has appropriately transcended James’ potential free agency. James can opt out and become a free agent this summer with the conventional wisdom he’ll stay in Miami, perhaps opt in for another season if the Heat win or work out some plan to recruit a new title group.

But many around the NBA believe the free agent to watch in Miami is Chris Bosh.

Bosh has been the third wheel, though perhaps a bit more important this season with Dwyane Wade in and out of the lineup. But Bosh also knows that if things go badly in Miami, he’d be the one, if not blamed, perhaps most likely to be used in trade to change the team. Some believe Bosh is the one most likely to make the preemptive strike. He’s gotten his titles and such a long run of All-Star appearances by now that he’s almost a sure Hall of Famer when he retires.

The time may be to pick his own fate, and Dallas makes sense.

It was much speculated previously when Bosh was headed toward free agency because he is from Dallas. Now is also the time for the Mavericks. Their free agent strategy when they broke up their 2011 title team failed. They’ve recovered some with the addition of Monta Ellis. Dirk Nowitzki probably has a few good seasons left, so this may be the last time to make a big strike. Bosh with those two probably means competing in the Western Conference.

Some have speculated Bosh is a target of the Lakers. But it would seem the environment in Dallas would be more conducive to the less flamboyant Bosh than the Lakers, who also are less talented. Plus, Bosh hitting 30 this month can lock up a last huge contract without further risk. Miami isn’t likely to extend him long term, and certainly not guarantee they won’t trade him. Maybe it is time to come home a champion.

NBA news and notes

-- New commissioner Adam Silver has been open to a lot of new ideas about the NBA regarding, among others, new standings formats, the lottery and perhaps a playoff to get into the playoffs. He should also try to get Bill Walton back broadcasting NBA games. Walton has been doing PAC-10 (or 12 or 24 or whatever it is now) games this season, but his unique and enthusiastic voice is much missed in the NBA playoffs. … Someone’s going to be very disappointed after a heck of a season as it’s looking more like Phoenix, Golden State, Dallas and Memphis are playing for the last three spots in the Western Conference playoffs. In the Eastern Conference it seems Indiana and Miami have the top two, the Bulls, Raptors, Wizards and Nets have three through six and the Bobcats and Hawks probably will have to hold off the Cavaliers, tied with Detroit three and a half games out of eighth but playing better than the Pistons. … I ran into Mark Aguirre last week at DePaul, where he is finishing his degree, a tribute to the Chicago native who now lives in Dallas and has had a successful business career and now is working in the aerospace industry. Aguirre has been a polarizing figure, but he’s probably the most deserving player not in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Remember, it’s the Basketball Hall of Fame, not the NBA Hall. Aguirre was the best player in college in a dominant three-year run and a No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft. He was an Olympian as a member of the 1980 team that didn’t go in a U.S. boycott. Aguirre then had an amazing seven-year run when he averaged almost 30 points one season and 25 over that period. His Mavericks, like many teams in the East against Michael Jordan, in the end couldn’t get by Magic Johnson and the Lakers and lost a seventh game to them in a conference finals. Aguirre after that was a key player on two Pistons title teams, his former Dallas teammate Derek Harper, now a Mavericks broadcaster, saying Aguirre is as good a player as he’s ever known.

-- There always are some sleepers getting the attention of pro scouts, and one making some noise lately is Billy Baron, a good shooting point guard from Canisius. The senior is averaging almost 25 per game and shooting about 43 percent on threes playing for his father, Jim. Baron is 23 after having transferred to finish his college career with his father and is a distributing 6-2 point guard who can make shots, a valuable NBA asset. … It probably won’t prevent anyone from trading for him, and there wasn’t that much attention paid as the Celtics are headed for among their poorest seasons ever, but Rajon Rondo left the team so he could join family and friends and celebrate his birthday in Los Angeles with the team in Sacramento. Who leaves work to have a birthday party, anyway? Rondo wasn’t scheduled to play with it a back to back, but he didn’t tell the team and told media when asked it wasn’t their business. Rookie coach Brad Stevens has been struggling still trying to learn the NBA and its players and the Celtics said it all was a media kerfluffle. But that defiant nature that helped make Rondo the player he is always is going to keep some guessing with how much they can give up if the Celtics do decide to trade him. … Though his scoring has remained consistent around 17, Michael Carter-Williams has sunk in assists, rebounding and steals while shooting around 40 percent. Carter-Williams is supposed to be the leader for rookie of the year, though you can make a case for Victor Oladipo, who has outplayed Carter-Williams head to head, and Trey Burke as Philadelphia plays no defense, fast paced and inflates statistics. It’s not Carter-Williams’ fault, but he shouldn’t get an NBA award because of the way his 76ers have betrayed the NBA and the 76ers fans with their blatant losing of games with all their roster moves to decimate the team. Players should not get any awards on a team that does what is hardly in the best interests of the game. Tanking is not basketball. The 76ers would have been bad enough for a high draft pick without purposely losing. … Jerry West made some news last week saying this draft wasn’t all that special, referring particularly to so many first year young players at the top. I rarely watch college basketball given how bad the game is (is anyone actually trying to score?) and generally wait until the tournament. But I decided to take a look at Kansas the other night, and if they have two of the first five picks, West is right. Phenom Andrew Wiggins doesn’t have much NBA game. He’d look good running with a high-tempo Denver team, but basically has just a straight line drive he won’t get in the NBA. Perhaps Joel Embiid is hurt, but he seems always to be and doesn’t protect the basket all that much against several guys who looked like future insurance agents. I like Jabari Parker, but he hasn’t even played his NBA position at Duke. They look like they’ll be very good players eventually, though it could be several years away. But agents keep pushing players out of school to get to that second contract so the agents can be paid big. I like the Bulls way of getting lottery picks, recently picking up top 10 picks D.J. Augustin and Jimmer Fredette. Better to have someone else test drive them first when they are young. … Pistons rookie lottery pick Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has scored in just four of the last 13 games in which he’s played. Fellow shooting guard lottery pick Ben McLemore was scoreless in two of his last seven games even while playing 48 minutes in those two. He’s shooting 35.6 percent for the season.

-- The NBA has worked hard in recent seasons to continue to “level the playing field” with collective bargaining changes to give smaller market team better competitive opportunities. That’s why there’s been an outcry to change the rules that have allowed veteran players to buy out contracts and sign with just the top teams, like Danny Granger and Glen Davis to the Clippers, Caron Butler to the Thunder and Jimmer Fredette. There’s a proposal making the rounds of turning it into a waiver situation where the teams with the worst records have the first chances at these players at the same veterans’ minimum. That would stop the buyouts. … Ben Gordon apparently didn’t want to give up money. So the Bobcats waived him after the March 1 deadline, which means he cannot play in the playoffs. They really must have been mad at him.


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