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McGrady sees reasons why Bosh would join Knicks

Toronto Raptors' Hedo Turkoglu, second from left, tries

Toronto Raptors' Hedo Turkoglu, second from left, tries to force his way between New York Knicks' Bill Walker, left, and David Lee, right, during the first half. (Mar. 5, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

TORONTO - Another city, another opportunity for Tracy McGrady to offer his candid thoughts on what one of the potential top-shelf free agents will do this summer.

By rule, Donnie Walsh and Mike D'Antoni have to wait until July 1 to talk openly about players such as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, but McGrady can say whatever he wants.

Because there's a stake in it for him if he re-signs with the Knicks, McGrady has taken every opportunity to offer reasons why these players could leave their current teams.

In Cleveland last week, he said James could leave if he wins an NBA championship because he would have delivered something to the title-starved city.

Before the Knicks' 102-96 loss to the Raptors Friday night at Air Canada Centre, McGrady discussed Bosh, who did not play because of a stomach ailment.

"He's personally been successful; the team really hasn't done that much," McGrady said. "Maybe he wants to start out fresh with another franchise, or maybe he's doing it for tax reasons - I'm not speaking of Chris Bosh, I'm just saying the individual that wants to move on. There are different reasons why a guy wouldn't want to play here."

McGrady, who had 13 points, six rebounds, four assists and six turnovers in 32:33, would know. He, like Bosh, started his career here. McGrady was a 19-year-old rookie in 1997-98 and played three seasons before he bolted the chilly Great White North to head to his home state, Florida, as a free agent with the Orlando Magic.

There is a belief that Bosh, who has been with Toronto for seven seasons, might have the same plans. Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo, however, knows Bosh's "most viable option to get the most money and most years" is to stay in Toronto.

By NBA rules, the team that owns the Bird Rights to a player can re-sign him to larger annual raises (10.5 percent per year) and an extra year (up to six years).

Colangelo also points out that the roster, with young talent such as Andrea Bargnani and rookie DeMar DeRozan, has Toronto in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

"It's not just a viable alternative for Chris as far as the dollars that will be available," Colangelo said, "but it's a viable alternative in respect to the basketball team."

One of Toronto's young players is Sonny Weems, who had a career-high 20 points and nine rebounds for the Raptors (32-28). David Lee had 23 points and 18 rebounds for the Knicks (21-40).

If Bosh does follow the McGrady Plan, the Raptors are more likely to work out a sign-and-trade rather than let him walk. Walsh could attempt to engage Colangelo in a deal, perhaps for Lee, who will be a free agent (and likely another player such as Wilson Chandler). The deal works only if Bosh wants to come to New York and Lee is willing to go to Toronto.

That scenario would be a coup for the Knicks - who are owned by Cablevision, which also owns Newsday - because it would be a way to score one of the top free agents while leaving plenty of room to sign another.

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