In recent weeks, the conventional thinking has been that if LeBron James returns to Miami, so too will Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
Well, not so fast.
The Houston Rockets are reportedly in hot pursuit of Bosh, who this past season averaged 16.2 points – his lowest since 2004-05 – and a career-low 6.6 rebounds.
Some are embracing the Bosh-to-Houston rumors, while others are dismissing it. What do we make of this?
“It’s an option,” Sporting News NBA insider Sean Deveney said on The Morning Show. “As all this stuff has played out (and as) Chris (was) sitting there sort of waiting for everybody else to decide his fate, I think (he) decided to be a little proactive and say, ‘Let’s see what’s out there for me.’ Because let’s face it: The guy is a max player. I mean, he is a guy who’s worth the four-year, $96-million contract.”
But is he really? Brandon Tierney doesn’t think so, especially in light of the diminished production.
“Oh yeah, absolutely,” Deveney said. “He was a 20-and-10 guy in Toronto. If you’re going to have Roy Hibbert or possibly Gordon Hayward getting that sort of money, there’s no question Bosh is up there, too. And on the open market, he would get that kind of contract.”
Regardless, it seems Bosh began looking elsewhere once he saw just how many teams were pursuing James.
“Bosh wants to make sure that there’s the right contract spot out there for him,” Deveney said. “So yeah, I think the interplay between these two guys is pretty important. Ideally, they’ve said – and I still think it’s true – they all want to go back to Miami. They don’t want to go back to a Miami team, though, where Dwyane Wade has half a leg and the rest of the roster is Shane Battier, James Jones and Udonis Haslem. They don’t want to go back to that situation.”
“So if Miami can sort of lay out for them what they’re going to do – what they can realistically do – then I think those guys will go back,” Deveney continued. “But if they don’t get a sense that that’s going to happen, then I think this stuff gets more and more real.”
Elsewhere in the free-agent world, Lance Stephenson has turned down a five-year, $44-million contract offer from Indiana, causing the Pacers to reassess the future of their franchise. If they cannot retain Stephenson – who is reportedly drawing interest from the Mavericks and Lakers – the Pacers may look to rebuild.
“From what I was told, the only two absolute untouchables on that roster are going to be David West and, of course, Paul George,” Deveney said. “Everybody else is definitely available. And from what I heard, yes, they were sort of pushing (Roy) Hibbert to different teams, primarily in the Western Conference in order to see if they (could) get back some players to lengthen the roster. They feel like if they can have a high-energy, rim-protecting big man and then get something else for Hibbert – and also save a little money that they could maybe (use to) bump up their offer to Lance Stephenson – that would be a way to solve all their problems. They would get the depth that they need, they would be able to resign Stephenson and they would have some form of big man that could man the middle.”
That sounds great, in theory. But does Hibbert still have any real value?
Deveney says yes.
“Hibbert still has value,” he said. “As bad he was down the stretch, as bad as he was in the playoffs, you know what the guy can do in terms of being a rim protector when his head is right.”