The Houston Rockets, who made a splash last offseason by signing Dwight Howard, have set their goal, however improbable, of luring LeBron James from Miami.
League sources told multiple outlets that Houston is preparing a campaign to land James when free agency opens July 1 … assuming James opts out of his contract, as expected. If the Rockets miss out on James, they will turn their full attention to New York’s Carmelo Anthony. And Miami’s Chris Bosh is also on the radar, according to sources.
Houston made runs at all three players in 2010’s free agency and when Anthony was debating who to be traded to in 2011. They failed. But since then they’ve added James Harden and Howard. They have an aggressive owner who’s willing to spend, the tax break of no state income tax, a dynamic guard and a dominant center.
To get there, the Rockets have to first clear space. They would have to find takers for Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik, both on the books for $8 million in cap space and $15 million in salary, and likely more unless James takes a massive pay cut.
Then they’d have to convince James to leave Miami, which is still unlikely, given everything.
So the odds aren’t great. Anthony may be a more likely option. They can provide Anthony real superstar help, the tax situation alleviates the money he’s leaving behind in New York. He gives them a scoring threat, but he doesn’t provide them with a real upgrade at their biggest need: defense.
Bosh, by far, is the most interesting candidate. Bosh would fit perfectly next to Howard. He can defend pick and roll out to the perimeter and stretch the floor. He fits exceptionally well on both sides of the ball. Bosh has long resisted returning to Texas (he grew up in Dallas). But if he could be convinced, it could be ideal from a basketball perspective.