And around the outside, here come the Rockets.
All year Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey has been talking about wanting to be involved in this summer's free agency extravaganza. But with Yao Ming potentially on the books and a need to re-sign several free agents (including Luis Scola and Kyle Lowry), the Rockets didn't seem to be contenders. They weren't listed on Bosh's "wish list" a few months ago, despite his Texas roots, and were generally considered to be on the outside.
Daryl Morey does not stay on the outside when the stakes are this high.
As KB filled you in this morning in the Free Agency Buzz , Morey was able to get a meeting with Chris Bosh immediately following the opening of the 2010 NBA Free Agency signing period. And, in typical Morey fashion, he posted to Twitter about it afterwards to get everyone to pick up on the scent. This shouldn't stun us. Morey's arguably the best general manager in the league. And despite a long series of moves which bely a savvy and an ability to identify quality value players, he's maintained the need for superstars in this league.
Morey's pitch to Bosh is interesting in and of itself. Morey chose to pursue the championship angle. Bosh, moreso than Dwyane Wade or even LeBron James, has been more focused publicly on being wooed, the market he'll be playing in, and the money he'll be paid. But Morey chose to push championships. But that's not all he can offer.
Houston is a major market, though rarely considered to be so. It's a Texas city, even if it's not Bosh's hometown of Dallas. There are significant connections between the Rockets and Chinese endorsement opportunities, many of which are far more lucrative than anything he can get stateside. And he can feel assured he'll be playing for a top notch coach in Rick Adelman who knows how to win, and play for a GM who is constantly working shrewdly to get the most out of his squad. Throw in a versatile roster that features Aaron Brooks, Kevin Martin, and Trevor Ariza along with Ming (not to mention every Knicks draft pick for the next bazillion years, though they'd lose some in a sign-and-trade), and the fact that Houston can accomplish a sign-and-trade with Toronto very easily to get him his absolute max contract, and all of a sudden? Houston looks pretty good.
The Rockets were left off the wish list for a reason, if the list was in fact accurate. But Morey's ability to get in first says something about how serious he is in pursuing this. And Bosh will listen to all offers. Morey may have just managed to land the Rockets into this race.
Keep up with the latest Free Agency news on Ken Berger's Free Agency Buzz .