Bosh expected to opt out of contract

TORONTO -- Chris Bosh would gladly share his future plans, if only to guarantee himself a little privacy. However, the five-time All-Star insists he has no idea where he'll be playing next season.

Bosh is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Toronto Raptors, leaving more than $17 million on the table, in order to join a free-agent class that could also include LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Amare Stoudemire.

Bosh has said he expects to earn the NBA's maximum salary on his next contract, and whether he returns to Toronto or joins a new team is anyone's guess.

"Nobody knows, not even me," Bosh said Thursday as the Raptors cleaned out their lockers. "That's something only the future holds. Everybody keeps looking for answers. There are no answers right now. There will only be answers when it's time.

"I wish I knew," Bosh added. "I'd let everybody know so that everybody would leave me alone."

With so many big names on the market, Bosh knows plenty of people will be asking questions.

"The possibilities are endless," he said. "You can say, 'He's going here, he's going there, what do you think, what's your opinion?' It's good barbershop talk."

A seven-year veteran, Bosh averaged career highs with 24.0 points and 10.8 rebounds this year. His season ended two minutes into an April 6 game at Cleveland when he was accidentally elbowed in the face by Antawn Jamison. Bosh suffered two facial fractures and required nasal surgery.

The injury dealt a fatal blow to Toronto's playoff hopes. The Raptors lost that game and the next three, including a 104-88 home defeat to the Chicago Bulls on April 11, and finished one game behind the Bulls for the final playoff spot in the East.

Watching from the sidelines as a once-promising season went in the tank left Bosh feeling "listless."

"It's kind of a confusing feeling," Bosh said. "It's disappointing. It takes a lot of energy out of you. I just don't know what to do."

What he wants to do most is sign for a team that can deliver on his dream of playoff success before it's too late.

"I just want to win basketball games," Bosh said. "I want to play in the postseason, I want to advance. I've been playing seven years. It's time to start thinking about stuff like that. I know I'm still a young player but I remember when I got drafted guys that were 25 and 26, now they're on their last deals."

Guard Jarrett Jack, Bosh's college teammate at Georgia Tech, said loyalty and a love for the city of Toronto could be enough to keep Bosh with the Raptors.

"He loves playing here," Jack said. "I think he loves being the face of the franchise, loves having a place to call his team, and I think those are all incentives, if you want to look at anything, to be able to come back and play for the Raptors for a very long time."

Echoing the feeling of many Toronto fans, guard Jose Calderon said Bosh's departure is tough to consider.

"I cannot imagine the Raptors without him," Calderon said. "I've been here five years, always with him. We'll see."

General manager Bryan Colangelo is in New York for the league's Board of Governors meetings and is scheduled to deliver his postmortem on Toronto's season early next week.

When he sits down with Bosh, Colangelo can expect their contract talks to be amicable.

"No matter what happens, me and Bryan agreed to work together," Bosh said. "I think that's important. I respect him as a GM and he respects me as a player. No matter what you do, you always want to do good business in this league. We're always going to talk."

But once the talks are done, Bosh will have to decide how to handle what he calls "a life-altering situation."

"A friend of mine always tells me 'Man, you have the greatest problem, but I wouldn't want to be in your shoes,'" Bosh said.