Bosh signed a deal similar to fellow class of 2003 stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, who bypassed five-year deals for three years with an option for a fourth and the chance to become free agents sooner and potentially make more money.
The exact value of Bosh's contract will not be known until the next salary cap is set in July 2007, but based on some cap
projections, it could be worth about $63 million over four years.
Bosh said all the losing in Toronto has been rough, but he likes
the moves new general manager Bryan Colangelo has made since he was
hired in February. The Raptors haven't made the playoffs in five
"I think change was needed. That was obvious," Bosh said. "I'm not going to lie. It was very tough. It was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life, just trying to go out
there and do my best and still come up short a lot."
Last season, Bosh averaged 22.5 points and 9.3 rebounds and
became an All-Star for the first time.
The 6-foot-10, 22-year-old Bosh was selected with the fourth
pick in the 2003 draft behind James, Darko Milicic and Carmelo Anthony and ahead of Wade.
Bosh didn't enter the league with the fanfare of those players, but he's blossomed into one of the best power forwards in the game -- capable of making jumpers and blowing by his opponent for a dunk.
Bosh was eligible to sign a five-year extension that potentially
could have been worth $81 million or more, but he wanted the
flexibility of becoming a free agent.
This deal gives Bosh the chance to secure another long-term
extension before the NBA's current collective bargaining agreement
Henry Thomas, the agent for Bosh and Wade, suggested it.
"I think it's a very shrewd move on Henry's part to suggest it,
and it's less exposure to the franchise," Colangelo said. "There
is a benefit to both parties. If we were the only team talking
about this I would be concerned, but we're not. It's probably a
trend that we will see more often."
Colangelo has remade the Raptors by acquiring point guard T.J. Ford, center Rasho Nesterovic, guard John Salmons, swingman Anthony Parker and selecting 7-foot Italian forward Andrea Bargnani with the top pick in the draft.
The former Phoenix Suns GM consulted with Bosh on each move,
something Bosh appreciated.
"I think the future is very positive for the franchise," Bosh
said. "I had a lot of people in my circle back home, we were
high-fiving each other all the time. Every move we were like 'Yeah,
this is looking good."'
Bosh is now Toronto's franchise player. Vince Carter was until
he asked out two years ago.
"I have to be ready for people to look at me and say, 'Why
didn't you win today,"' Bosh said. "I'm ready for it. I've been
wanting this, I've been dreaming of this since I've been playing
basketball, to be 'The Guy.' I'm in that position, so I'm not going
to fail myself."