The Houston Rockets expressed confidence on Friday that Chris Bosh would sign their max contract offer in the wake of LeBron James' announcement that he will sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
A source familiar with the situation told ESPN’s Marc Stein that the Rockets expect Bosh to commit to the franchise “soon.” Houston offered Bosh a four-year, $88 million max contract earlier this week.
While Bosh was said to be “seriously considering” Houston’s offer, the consensus among league executives was that he would return to Miami if James signed with the Heat.
With Bosh in place, the Rockets would move forward on a plan to trade center Omer Asik to the New Orleans Pelicans, ESPN reports. The franchise would also seek to clear salary cap space by trading point guard Jeremy Lin, who will earn $15 million during the 2014-15 season. The Philadelphia 76ers expressed interest in absorbing Lin’s contract if Houston adds additional talent to the deal.
When rid of Lin’s and Asik’s contracts, the Rockets will likely use the newfound cap space to retain the services of restricted free agent small forward Chandler Parsons, who signed a three-year, $45 million offer sheet from the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, Ken Berger of CBS reports. Houston has until Sunday to match Dallas offer.
Given their close relationship, it’s possible that James timed his decision to aid Bosh in preserving his deal with the Rockets. If James had delayed his announcement past Sunday, the Rockets may have used the cap space set aside for Bosh to retain Parsons, out of fear that James potential return to Miami would spur Bosh to commit to the Heat as well. By making his announcement before the weekend, James assured that Bosh would be able to sign a max deal with the Rockets.
In Houston, Bosh would add his size and perimeter shooting to a talented lineup that already includes perennial All-Star Dwight Howard and a top scorer in shooting guard James Harden. The retention of Parsons would secure the Rockets’ place as one of the top teams in the Western Conference ahead of the 2014-15 NBA season.