I wrote previously about how I didn’t understand how after last summer, local Houston fans still doubt the reality that the Houston Rockets are a tier one destination when free agency opens in just under a week. After Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James made their intentions clear that they would be exercising their early termination options and become unrestricted free agents, this only increased the talk that Houston has no chance at either guy or any of the other so called “big fish.” I’m still of the mind that says the game has changed and why not us? Let’s take a look at five of these guys now and what the realistic possibility is.
This one has been beaten to death around Houston since they hired Kevin McHale as head coach. Would he be an ideal fit? Of course. But the Rockets two biggest trade chips, Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik, aren’t needed by Minnesota and it would take getting a third team involved to facilitate. In the end, Houston would be easily outbid unless Love demanded to go to the Rockets, which hasn’t even been rumored to be on his list. But the Wolves’ AP writer keeps bringing up Houston as a potential trade partner, so who knows what can happen.
We know that Daryl liked Bosh when he was a free agent last time, but does he still have eyes for him? First things first, we still don’t know if he’s opting out of his deal in Miami, but after LeBron did, it seems to be a foregone conclusion. Most think if any of the big three is likely to leave, it’s Bosh, who no longer wants to be the fall guy for Wade and James. If he’s content with his titles and wants to go elsewhere to have a bigger role, it makes sense. He’d be an electric fit next to Dwight Howard, but one has to wonder if he’s worth max money at this stage of his career. I see him as a third or fourth option on Houston’s wishlist.
Personally, I’m not a fan of this guy. But to deny the kind of shop he could wreck next to Dwight Howard is undeniable. Rumor has it that the extension talks in Memphis have gone badly and he’s looking to get out of town. I have little doubt Houston would be interested and could probably pull this one off. Again, not sure Houston would want to sink next to max money on him, but the temptation will surely be there. The opportunity to stick around in the division could be just as tempting for Randolph.
The one I have officially called my shot for on the latest podcast. According to every rumor or national media pundit you hear from, Melo to Chicago seems to be a done deal. But, again, just remember last summer when the talking heads wanted to put Dwight everywhere but Houston. Daryl and the Rockets brass are assuredly going to have one hell of a pitch to the guy they view as the most “gettable” on July 1st. Selling Melo on how he fits is the toughest part though. For all of the talk about how well he would fit in Chicago, the Rockets have health on their two stars players side. This one will be close, in my opinion. But I believe Houston can sell him on the city, ownership, future and he will be a Rocket within a couple of weeks.
The biggest pipe dream in the city of Houston at the moment. Unlike all the cool kids, I refuse to hate on the best player in the game. We only have true, complete superstars like James once in a generation and I choose to enjoy them while we have them. Adding LeBron James to my team would be the things that dreams are made of. While I think it’s highly unlikely, due to him not wanting the image of being a mercenary, if he leaves Miami, Houston has as good of a chance as any. Again, young core, a franchise center, a savvy general manager that excels at finding contributors off the bench for cheap and an owner willing to go over the luxury tax to win. It’s a one in a hundred shot, but just receiving a visit from The King on his free agency tour would just show how far this team has come in just two short years.
In the end, I called my shot for Melo and I’m sticking with it. It’ll be fun to dream about James playing here for a couple of hours during his potential visit, but I just can’t see him wanting to go through repairing his image all over again. I believe Morey will try hard to swing a deal for Love, but finding a third GM to help you facilitate a super team is not going to be easy.
Say I’m wrong and Melo does stay in New York or choose the Bulls and they swing and miss at the other four guys. Then what? I have it on good authority that they intend to make a run at bringing Kyle Lowry back. If that bridge can’t be mended, it’ll be the usual Morey “out of left field” move that we’ve mostly grown accustomed to. After free agency, I doubt he sits on his hands and says “oh well.” He’ll be working the phones and we’ll see an upgrade of some sort before November.
Check out the new Red Nation Radio podcast below for more in-depth thoughts on Rockets free agency and much, much more.