Like most teams in the NBA, the Houston Rockets are waiting for the LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony dominoes to fall to determine what their offseason will look like. And just like everyone else, should they fail in their attempts to get Melo, the Rockets will have a backup plan to ensure they don’t come away from free agency empty-handed.
According to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle, should the Rockets miss out on signing Melo this summer, their next targets will be Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors and Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat. Lowry is an unrestricted free agent and so is Bosh after opting out of his contract.
The Rockets already cleared out Omer Asik‘s contract by trading him and $1.5 million cash to the New Orleans Pelicans for a 2015 first round draft pick, but they’d still need to get Jeremy Lin‘s big contract off the books in order to have any shot at signing Melo. Though Bosh will most likely take a discount to remain in Miami with the Big Three (especially if LeBron truly does want a max contract), he could probably command a max-level deal on the open market.
Lowry would also need a big offer to entice him to leave Toronto, especially since the Raptors are making their No. 1 offseason priority re-signing him before other teams can even make their offers. Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca believes Lowry returning to the Raptors is “as good as done,” a sentiment ESPN’s Marc Stein echoed on Twitter.
And therein lies the problem for the Houston Rockets: with Carmelo Anthony going on his nationwide tour of sales pitch meetings with the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers, it might be too late for the Rockets to make Bosh or Lowry an offer by the time Melo makes up his mind.
Should Bosh keep an open mind in free agency, the Rockets would be able to offer him a good chance at a title right away. With Dwight Howard in the paint, a lot of the defensive pressure on Chris Bosh would evaporate and he can certainly hold his own on both ends of the floor at the power forward position. Though he’s not quite a Carmelo Anthony-esque stretch-4 on offense, Bosh has added three-point shooting to his arsenal and would be able to spread the floor as an additional perimeter threat.
Lowry’s return to Houston would be the equivalent of taking Patrick Beverley, having him put on a few pounds and adding an offensive game to his skill set. Lowry enjoys hounding opposing ball handlers much like Beverley does, only he’s a much better shooter and facilitator on offense. Can you imagine playing the Rockets as a point guard and getting being rewarded when Lowry comes out with Beverley?
The trio of James Harden, Chandler Parsons and Dwight Howard is already enticing enough, and if the Rockets miss out on Melo, Lowry or Bosh would be a nice consolation prize. But at this point in time, the Rockets probably should put more eggs in their Carmelo Anthony basket.