Normally offseason and trade rumors begin to heat up as the playoffs dwindle down and the NBA Draft approaches. For the Rockets, the rumors and speculation have already begun.
In one of the most anticipated free agent classes of all time, one star has captured the headline in Houston: power forward Chris Bosh.
For those who don't know, on his personal Twitter account, he asked fans where he should go next season. He would later rephrase the question to ask whether he should stay or leave, but all signs point toward Chris Bosh being in a different uniform come November. His possible destinations include Miami, New York, and Chicago via free agency, but the Rockets have emerged as a potential suitor through a sign-and-trade deal.
It comes as no surprise for Rocket fans, as the stockpiling of picks and youth accumulated over the years was something cooking in store for something greater. A team like Toronto that could potentially lose Bosh for nothing would quickly be in desperation mode looking for sign-and-trade venues that Bosh would accept.
With that being said, they would almost have to strongly consider a package around that youth, such as Jordan Hill, expiring contracts, potential lottery picks, and potential filled prospects like Ariza and Budinger.
For Bosh's case, he could team up with the likes of Wade in Miami or Rose/Noah in Chicago. But with the Rockets, he'd get an overall more balanced team with the likes of Brooks, Martin, Ariza, Battier, and the awaited comeback of Yao Ming. But most importantly, he'd have the opportunity to return back to his home state in Texas and become the best player on the team.
But the Rockets would face a possible dilemma with Luis Scola being a restricted free agent himself. Coming off his best season with averages of 16 points and 8 boards on 52 percent shooting, the Rockets are certainly not lacking talent at the power forward position.
It'd seem unlikely that he would stay if Bosh were to come to Houston, but Luis recently commented on the situation:
"Chris Bosh is a great player, an All-Star, a 20-10 guy," said Scola. "I know people who play with him on the same team, and everybody says he's a great teammate. You always want a great player and a great teammate and a 20-10 guy on your team. Winning is always first."
We can interpret it different ways or that Scola is being diplomatic about the situation, but would the Rockets be willing to pay him $8-10 million for being a mere backup? As great as Bosh would be, the Rockets would have bigger needs—more specifically a backup center that could step in and start if Yao were to prove unstable once again.
Then there's the counter-argument that the Rockets could run a three-man rotation with Scola, Yao, and Bosh, but much like the Raptors and what the Rockets faced last season, the defensive intimidation on the inside would be minimal.
Frankly the Rockets already have enough scoring, and in a team setting where Bosh would likely take on a lesser offensive role, how much better is Bosh for the Rockets compared to the production Scola provided, especially post All-Star break?
Don't get me wrong, Bosh is a considerably better player than Scola and is one of the better players in the league. But if Yao were to regain form, both Scola and Bosh provide a reliable mid-range jump-shot, an underappreciated post-game, and solid rebounding.
But if we've learned anything over the years, if you can acquire an All-Star caliber player without giving up assets, you acquire them first and worry about fit later.
The ultimate point of the tale is while I feel the reports of Bosh being the top priority in the offseason are valid, based on the recent moves made by Rockets' General Manager Daryl Morey, if there's anything we've learned, it's to expect the unexpected.
Chuck Hayes Back, Rockets Willing to Spend
The Rockets will be picking up Chuck Hayes' team option for the 2010-2011 season worth $2.3 million.
The news comes as no surprise, as the league's shortest center was a consistent force in the Rockets' attack last season. His post defense and basketball IQ exemplified his game further than his mere 4.4 point per game and 5.7 rebound per game average.
With Yao's expected comeback, Hayes' role is expected to be reduced, and he will likely be moved back to his more natural power forward position. He'll provide much needed depth and toughness coming off the bench.
The only doubt towards the Rockets not picking up Hayes team option would be a possible reluctance on spending on the luxury tax. However, Daryl Morey recently claimed on 790 that Les has given him the green light to spend and improve on the team, which further proves the Rockets will be active players in this years offseason frenzy.
Rockets Workout Yesterday
The draft is only a month away, and it's that time of year again where front offices are busy scrutinizing and extensively researching on possible collegiate and foreign athletes building their draft board to help improve on the team.
Yesterday, May 7, 2010, the Rockets had six of those prospects in town, among which included: center Brian Davis from Texas A&M, guard Demetri McCamey from Illinois, guard Manny Harris from Michigan, forward Latavious Williams from Tulsa of the NBA Development League, forward Jajuan Johnson from Purdue, and guard Kelvin Lewis from the University of Houston.
A wide variety of prospects might hint the Rockets are looking purely from a talent standpoint rather than reaching on a big that potentially wouldn't pan out.
That's if the Rockets end up keeping the pick.