General manager Bryan Colangelo said Monday "it's likely" that free agent forward Chris Bosh will leave the Toronto Raptors.
Colangelo told Toronto radio station Fan 590 that the Raptors still hope to keep the all-star forward, but if Bosh does want to leave, he will try to work a sign-and-trade arrangement that could help both sides.
"As we look at Chris as a potential free agent, our own free agent, wanting to re-sign him, I still have that intention and desire," Colangelo said. "But it's becoming more and more clear that that's not going to happen. Now we need to decide what the best way is to come out of this."
A sign-and-trade would allow Bosh to get an extra year on his contract while enabling the Raptors to receive something in return for losing him. If Bosh simply signs with another team, it could cost him about US$30 million.
Colangelo confirmed that Bosh did not exercise his option for next season, making him a free agent. He joins the class that will include LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, and Bosh has long been considered the likeliest to leave, with Miami and Chicago often considered the favourites.
Colangelo said he has been in contact with Bosh's agent, Henry Thomas, but not as much lately with Bosh, who has been travelling.
"We will get to a point where there's a conclusion to this one way or the other," Colangelo said.
The New York Knicks have enough money to afford two maximum salary players, the Bulls are close, and the Heat can add one while keeping Wade. With so many teams in such good position heading into free agency, Colangelo knew it would be tough to keep Bosh, who he said loves the city of Toronto.
"It's the perfect storm for Chris Bosh to leave and unfortunately we're possibly going to be on the short end of that, but we will evolve," Colangelo said. "We will have to evolve and move forward."