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Official BaB reminder: Chris Bosh is good and the Bulls should get him

The clear best motivation of rooting against Toronto down the stretch (as if the hate itself isn't enough fun) is the theory that it'll force Chris Bosh to realize he'll never get into contention with his current situation's lack of flexibility (and lack of being good).

But do the Bulls even want Chris Bosh if he commands a max deal?

Yes. Very much so. Very much want.

As our eyes have turned towards Toronto here, several threads have gone over this debate over the desirability of Bosh, though I don't see much of one. Today, Andrew Sharp on tries to make the case of a 'franchise player' designation not applying to Bosh, and thus no max deal. Citing his more 'finesse' game, defensive issues, and lack of results with his current's not that convincing of a case. No matter how Bosh does it (and hard to doubt a conscious effort by him to stay outside as long as he's on a go-nowhere team), he produces (currently 6th in the entire league in PER). No matter how he can't lift up the team defense of Calderon, Bargnani and Turkoglu, he himself is a solid defender. He just turned 26, has no significant injury history, and if you need help in evaluating the nebulous intangible qualities, has in fact led bad teams to the playoffs in his career.

But Sharp's argument is less about if whether Chris Bosh is really productive, as it is about his value relative to a max contract. That entire premise is flawed: Chris Bosh doesn't have to be on the same tier as LeBron or Wade (though I'd argue Wade isn't that much better of a value given his age and injury history) in order to deserve a max contract like those guys. The fact that the NBA institutes a maximum contract in the first place means that the salary value system is already off: LeBron could conceivably be worth twice as much as Bosh but the contractual rules won't allow it. So having both at the max wouldn't be overpaying Bosh as it would be underpaying LeBron.

And the lack of a hard cap (I'm choosing to ignore that Reinsdorf may know terms of the NBA's future salary structure plans that would influence his present spending) diminishes the importance of value in the first place. You don't win the championship by having the most valuable team relative to cost. It's having the most productive team. The Lakers are filled of overpaid players (including a 'non-franchise' big man who turned out to be quite the 'winner' once he got on a team that won...funny, that.), and while Sharp lists the top-10 salaries in the NBA as a kind of mark against overpaying, a lot of those players are on the best teams in the league.

But his 'no max for non-franchise' player stance does soften:

Chris Bosh could be looked at as a franchise player, but if you sign him to a max deal, you'd better be able to afford a max deal for someone like Derrick Rose.

Hey, the Bulls have someone like Derrick Rose! And the financial wherewithal to go headlong in the luxury tax supporting a team around the future max deals of Rose (also currently not 'worth' a max contract by the way, though I'd pay it) and Bosh, as well as the high-priced ones of Noah and Deng.

And the issue remains that it doesn't matter if Bosh will earn the max contract, that number is what it will take to get him here. So would I rather the Bulls saved a few million to get more of a value contract with David Lee, Carlos Boozer, or Amare Stoudemire taking a less-than-max deal? The cap space can only be used once, but the roster is not locked in if Bosh uses it all up, there are still trades and future exceptions (Bulls don't have to have their championship roster complete in 2010) to fill in the rest. 

So I see no downside to maxing out Chris Bosh and getting him to Chicago even if it turns out he isn't as valuable relative to his salary. Give me the better player, not the better value. Get me the best team, not the most competitive one possible under the luxury tax threshold. If the Bulls have the attitude of shying away from Bosh to get less significant, 'value', pieces because it might cost them too much in the future to keep a Bosh+Rose team together, the Org. is never going to win anything significant anyway.