Jackson talks up Bosh
Says Raptor could be a fit for Lakers
Remarks likely not
Dec. 8, 2005. 05:22 AM
As much as they want to win simply for pride, the Toronto Raptors know they need to win to convince star forward Chris Bosh to scribble his initials on a contract extension next summer. But it could become harder to do that if guys like Phil Jackson have their way.
Jackson, the veteran coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, told reporters yesterday that his team should have room to hire a couple of free agents next season. And when he was asked about who might be on his list, he mentioned the Raptors' rising star.
"Well ... the players that were franchise-changing players you know re-signed up or re-upped with their organizations. There are some that will be available in the year following that you obviously have to take a look at, and this kid here is one of them. Chris Bosh, obviously everybody's going to be interested in and we think he's become quite a talent."
It was almost certainly not a case of official NBA tampering, but Jackson's comments caused the Raptors' front office to snap to attention. This is a team that's selling hope and the last thing they need is someone planting the idea of a Bosh retreat in the minds of fans. They also don't want Bosh daydreaming about playing under Jackson in a place where endorsement money is as plentiful as sunshine and seductive Hollywood starlets.
One Raptors official called Jackson's comments "unbelievable."
"If someone asks our coach about a guy and he says, `He's a great player,' that's fine. But if he says, `He's a great player and he'd look great in a Toronto uniform,' that's tampering."
Jackson didn't say he wanted to lure Bosh to the purple and gold. But he did freely mention his name as someone his team — and others — might covet.
"I know the league takes this sort of thing very seriously," Raptors GM Rob Babcock said. "But I haven't seen the comment, so there's not much I can say."
An NBA official said the league's constitution says players or coaches or other officials "may not directly or indirectly entice or induce or persuade or attempt to entice, induce or persuade" a player under contract to join another team.
"I'm sure the lawyers will look at what he (Jackson) said, but it doesn't sound that bad," the NBA official said.
Bosh, before last night's game, downplayed Jackson's remark as "just one coach's assessment of the future."
"You always know there's other places to play. But if you're happy and content with where you're playing as of the moment, you don't have to worry about that."