Sam Presti and his fellow NBA general managers are clearing salary cap space for the free agent class of 2010, which includes stars who will visit Oklahoma City this weekend.
First comes Toronto forward Chris Bosh, who makes his only Ford Center appearance tonight against the Thunder. The leading rebounder on Team USA’s gold medal squad, Bosh is a 6-foot-10, athletic big man. Bosh, 24, is expected to have many teams interested in 2010, all making maximum offers around $102 million over five years.
"For all the talk whether LeBron (James) will go to New York, to me, one of the more interesting situations is whether Chris Bosh stays in Toronto,” said an Eastern Conference scout. "He’s gotten better every year and is heading into his most productive years.”
In his sixth NBA season, Bosh is seventh in the league in scoring (23.6 points), averages 9.7 rebounds and is shooting 49.9 percent from the filed. The left-hander already has scored 42, 40 and 39 points this season.
Charlotte coach Larry Brown said Bosh — the fourth player selected in 2003 behind James, Darko Milicic and Carmelo Anthony — gained invaluable experience in the Olympics.
"I’m sure being around guys like Jason (Kidd) and Kobe (Bryant), he realized what you need to do to take that extra step,” Brown said. "He’s better posting up. He’s better putting the ball on the floor. Before, you didn’t really know whether he was a four or a three. Now he’s just a basketball player.”
James, the jewel of the class of 2010, makes his only Ford Center stop Sunday, when Cleveland plays the Thunder.