Rockets Rumors: Latest on Houston's Pursuit of NBA's Elite Free Agents

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 4, 2014

MIAMI, FL - MAY 09:  Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks goes to the basket against Chris Bosh #1 and LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 9, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2012 NBAE  (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
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In terms of twosomes, it doesn’t come much better than Houston’s James Harden and Dwight Howard at the NBA level. However, the Rockets would love to add another piece or two around their All-Stars from 2014’s loaded free-agency class. 

With that in mind, here is a look at some of the latest updates on Houston’s pursuit of players such as Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Shawn Marion.

 

Chris Bosh

SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 15: Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs and Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat shake hands after the San Antonio Spurs' victory in Game Five and winning the 2014 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Cente
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Marc Stein of ESPN filled fans in on Houston’s apparent interest in Bosh:

This is certainly an intriguing development because the narrative surrounding Bosh has been that he will almost definitely stay in Miami. Just because Houston is interested doesn’t mean he is leaving South Beach, but it will be worth keeping an eye on.

Bosh would fit in perfectly next to Harden and Howard. He is a stretch forward who would make opposing defenses pay four doubling down on Howard down low with a smooth outside shot. What’s more, Harden will create plenty of open looks for Bosh from the outside with his penetration. 

Considering Dwyane Wade’s suspect knees, a new Big Three in Houston may be in Bosh’s best long-term interest if he wants to win more rings.

 

LeBron James/Carmelo Anthony

Chris Broussard of ESPN noted that the Houston Rockets were one of the teams fortunate enough to discuss James’ future with his agent, but Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports pointed out that James probably isn’t in Houston’s long-term plans:

Houston Rockets officials spoke with Paul by phone, but were not granted a meeting and have moved on with their pursuit of Carmelo Anthony, sources told Yahoo Sports.

Some executives believe there's an opportunity because of a disconnect between James and his teammates, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Another executive attending the meeting flatly said, "I think it's a smokescreen."

James may be the best player in the world, but Anthony is about as good as it comes in terms of backup plans. Still, if Anthony came to Houston, that would mean he turned down significantly more money in New York and a chance to play in a watered-down Eastern Conference with the loaded core of the Chicago Bulls.

SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 15: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat drives to the basket against the San Antonio Spurs during Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. NOT
Noah Graham/Getty Images

As for James, an executive didn’t exactly paint a pretty picture for the Heat in the Wojnarowski article:

There's clearly a breakdown in communication between LeBron and [Wade and Bosh]. [James is] giving Riley time to go get players for them but if that doesn't happen in the next few days … LeBron seems ready to explore the market. 

Whether that is good news or not for the Rockets remains to be seen, but any potential disconnect in Miami should have the rest of the league on alert.

 

Shawn Marion

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 4:  Head coach Rick Carlisle of the Dallas Mavericks and teammate Shawn Marion #0 hug as Marion leaves the court in the final minutes against the San Antonio Spurs in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2014
Chris Covatta/Getty Images

Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas noted that the Rockets are interested in the 15-year veteran Marion:

Shawn Marion has no shortage of suitors for what might be the final contract of his NBA career.

The Miami Heat, Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls and a few other teams join the Dallas Mavericks among those who have expressed interest in Marion, a source said. 

Marion may not be the stat-sheet stuffer he was in his prime, but he still scored in double figures last season for the Dallas Mavericks and is a formidable defender. He can defend guards or forwards, and his versatility means whichever team lands him will be getting some more depth at a number of different positions.

Yes, he feels like something of a consolation prize for Houston, considering it is interested in James and Anthony, but Marion would give this Rockets team some much-needed defense. For as great as Harden is on the offensive side, he doesn’t exactly carry his club on the other end. 

Marion would provide a level of toughness that was missing in Houston last year.

 

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