Now that LeBron James has decided to return home to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the rest of the NBA free agency can start to develop. James making his decision to go back to Ohio opens up Chris Bosh to join the Houston Rockets, making them, perhaps, the favorite in the Western Conference when it is all said and done.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey will have a busy few days ahead of him if he and the Rockets want to come out of free agency as the biggest winners. They must trade Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik, sign Bosh and then match Chandler Parsons’ offer-sheet from the Dallas Mavericks all in the next three days.
The Rockets have already agreed to a verbal deal with the New Orleans Pelicans to trade Asik for a future first round pick. The deal may have to be reworked because the salary cap came in lower than projected by about $100,000. The deal will get done. It may just make the Rockets add a kicker, in terms of compensation received in the deal, to the deal to improve it for the Pelicans.
There are talks around the league that the Rockets have a few destinations for Lin. Originally, there was a trade in principal to send Lin to the Philadelphia 76ers. It was rumored the Rockets would have to sweeten the deal with first round draft picks and other young players such as Donatas Motiejunas, Isaiah Cannan or Terrence Jones. Now, it seems the Los Angeles Lakers are willing to take Lin from the Rockets with their inability to make a splash in free agency this year.
The Rockets have to trade Lin and Asik, as well as another player or two, to be able to afford Bosh. The problem is they have a short window to execute the trades. Since the Mavericks have signed Parsons to an offer-sheet for three-years and about $45 million, the Rockets have three days to sign Bosh and match Parsons’ offer from the Mavericks. If they can do this they will have the best offseason of any team in the NBA.
With Patrick Beverley at point, James Harden at shooting guard, Parsons at small forward, Bosh at power forward and Dwight Howard at center, the Rockets will have the best starting five in the league, hands down. There is no one, not even the San Antonio Spurs, that can match that firepower. Bosh fits perfectly with the Rockets. The skills he polished while with the Miami Heat make him a better fit this time around for the Rockets rather than when they tried to sign him to a contract in 2010.
Bosh adds the ability to spread the floor with his solid jump-shot away from the basket, giving the Rockets the stretch-four power forward they have desperately been searching for to complete their offense. Taking pressure off of Howard in the post by drawing a defender out of the lane, Bosh also clears the lane for a drive from Harden or Parsons. He also adds another option for a kick-out jump-shot option if his defender leaves to help cover from a driving teammate. If the defender stays with Bosh, it leaves one post defender to collapse on the drive, which opens up Howard for a lob pass near the rim.
Most importantly, Bosh’s defense is desperately needed for the Rockets. The Rockets were torched last year away from the post by LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trailblazers in the first round of last season’s playoffs. Bosh has the ability to cover prototypical power forwards who want to bang in the post and also the stretch-fours who can knock down shots away from the basket. He won’t be asked to be the center in Houston, which was his downfall in Miami. The Rockets will be very dangerous next season if everything goes perfectly in the next 72 hours.