NBA Rumors: Latest Free-Agency Buzz Surrounding Top Stars

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NBA Rumors: Latest Free-Agency Buzz Surrounding Top Stars
Larry W. Smith/Associated Press

It appears one of the top names on the free-agent market is taking matters into his own hands. Finally.

Chris Bosh kicks off the latest updates from this rumor-mad July, which LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony have essentially hijacked by opting out of their contracts and forcing nearly every team in the league to await their decisions before moving forward.

According to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, Bosh is in talks to join the Houston Rockets:

Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh had his first direct conversation with Houston Rockets management on Monday morning, inching closer to the possibility of a four-year, $80 million-plus contract, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Bosh's stance on his intentions has remained unchanged: His preference is to stay with Miami on a new deal and play with LeBron James. Nevertheless, James hasn't committed to a return, and Houston has moved aggressively to secure a deal with Bosh, sources said.

Bosh could easily slide into a power forward role alongside Dwight Howard at center. In fact, Bosh might double down on the stretch forward form he flashed last season thanks to his emergent ability to knock down three-pointers.

After attempting no more than 74 three-pointers a year in his first 10 NBA seasons, Bosh jacked up 218 treys at a respectable 33.9 percent clip last season, per Basketball-Reference.com.

Bosh moving outside to knock down mid-range jumpers and corner treys could definitely free up Howard in the post. His addition to the roster would essentially create a new "Big Three" in the Western Conference with Howard and James Harden.

If Bosh makes the first move and agrees to terms with the Rockets, he could be the one making waves throughout the league, not Anthony or James.

The Rockets' potential signing of Bosh would definitely take them out of the Anthony sweepstakes. This may not be a problem, because according to a source for Frank Isola of the New York Daily News (h/t CBS Sports' Matt Moore), the New York Knicks star doesn't have a team from the Lone Star State in his top three choices:

Anthony, 30, is still debating his next move with the Knicks, Lakers and the Bulls as his top three choices, the source claims. Chicago is still in the running despite the fact that the Bulls, barring a sign-and-trade, cannot come close to matching the max deals the Knicks and Lakers offered Anthony last week. However, the Bulls do allow Anthony to stay in the Eastern Conference, play in the large market and join a contending team.

If Anthony's main goal is to win a championship, the Bulls offer him the best immediate chance. They were one of the top defensive teams in the league last year, allowing opponents just 97.8 points per 100 possessions, as per ESPN's Hollinger rankings.

Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose already form a solid core of talent that Anthony can complement with his career 25.3 points-per-game average.

Coach Tom Thibodeau runs a highly disciplined defensive system that may clash with Anthony's usual lackadaisical approach on that end. However, Anthony's scoring ability more than makes up for any perceived defensive deficiencies.

ESPN's Marc Stein offered his insight on the Anthony sweepstakes:

He may be more comfortable in New York, and the opportunity to play with Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles is tempting, but both teams' rosters are in a turbulent state right now. Chicago offers a solid foundation for winning the Larry O'Brien trophy.

Once Anthony makes his decision, it could free up swingmen like Paul Pierce to start truly engaging teams, according to Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix

Pierce is coming off his first, and possibly only, season with the Brooklyn Nets. He averaged 13.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game in 2013-14, numbers well below his career averages in those categories, per Basketball-Reference.com.

Pierce made roughly $15.3 million last season with the Nets, per Spotrac.com, so it appears he is aware his asking price will have to come down. Still, $9 million per season may be tough to command for a 36-year-old in a market that features the likes of Gordon Hayward, Chandler Parsons and Trevor Ariza at small forward.

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