The Houston Rockets "plan to shift their attention to trying to swipe Chris Bosh from the Miami Heat" if they fail in their pursuit of Carmelo Anthony, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com. With the recent rumors surfacing that LeBron James could leave South Beach, now is as good a time as ever to make at run at the team's second star.
Bosh, by all indications, remains the Plan B for Houston behind Anthony. However, with so many other suitors in the mix for 'Melo and the distinct possibility that he heads elsewhere, Bosh could be a strong alternative as he might actually be a stronger stylistic fit for what the Rockets want to do. Either way, it's an intriguing rumor, and could make the Heat's efforts to keep their Big 3 together that much harder.
Why it could happen
The Rockets haven't exactly been shy about their pursuit of star players in recent years, an effort that's already bore fruit with the additions of James Harden and Dwight Howard. The team's goal always involved adding one more star, however, and this summer seems to be the time to do it.
With the cap space and assets that the Rockets own, finding that third star feels like like more of an if than a when. Anthony, all things considered, makes sense as the top target given that he's an unrestricted free agent from a struggling franchise, but Bosh is the next logical alternative. Even if prying him from Miami might not be easy, it's worth trying.
The idea of Bosh in Houston isn't hard to sell from a team perspective. By adding Bosh and retaining Chandler Parsons via Bird rights, the Rockets could roll out a starting lineup featuring Bosh, Parsons, Patrick Beverley, James Harden and Dwight Howard next season. That's a devastating top five, and would immediately push Houston into the upper echelon.
Why it won't happen
Bosh didn't opt out of his contract with the Heat because he was desperate to leave Miami. He did that because he wanted to keep playing with LeBron James and recognized that having his max-level salary on the books might prohibit the Heat from putting things together.
So from the start of the offseason, it was easy to assume Bosh would end up back in Miami, becoming the new No. 2 star in the LeBron's second act with the Heat. That was until James' agent started talking to other teams, and the idea of the Big 3 returning to Miami became a bit more complicated.
But nothing indicates the Miami dream is dead. LeBron could simply be posturing, hoping to pressure Heat president Pat Riley to hurry up and put together a championship-quality roster. Or a myriad other things could happen, like Bosh joining LeBron elsewhere, or staying in Miami without LeBron, or something else.
There's just enough going on here to make Bosh-to-Houston complicated, even if the fit makes so much darn sense.
Likelihood it happens
With the Big 3 in Miami feeling as vulnerable as ever to change, now may be the time for Bosh to move on and continue his career elsewhere. However, leaving behind LeBron would never be easy, even if means partnering with two other elite-level talents in Houston.
There's also the possibility that Anthony chooses Houston, which would knock the Rockets out of the Bosh sweepstakes no matter what happens in Miami. So there are a lot of moving pieces here, and more than anything, this feels like the Rockets hedging their bets. 3 out of 10.