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MSR’s Random Sports Thoughts: NBA Free Agency Edition

So, remember when Bosh basically committed to the Houston Rockets for a four-year, $88 million deal on the condition that LeBron James would leave Miami?

Yeah, about that …

**spit take** Wait, WHAT?!!

**spit take** Wait, WHAT?!!

Looks like Pat Riley went all-in on a Plan B once King James bolted from South Beach, and the centerpiece was Chris Bosh: in what seemed like a last-second move, the free agent PF decided to stay with the Heat, to the tune of five years, and $118 million. Turns out Miami’s max deal trumped the prospect of playing with Dwight Howard and James Harden in his home state of Texas.

Just like you couldn’t fault LeBron James for leaving behind a possibly better situation in Miami to win championships to go home and play with young talent, you can’t fault Bosh spurning a great chance to play for a possible Western Conference power to stay in a venue he loved, in Miami, ever since he first arrived.

And, even if he is ultimately the only superstar left in Miami when the Free Agency dust settles, he will have his chance to shine as the lone big name on the Heat. He’s certainly being paid like one.

If anything, Bosh will likely be the centerpiece luring more names to South Beach come next year’s free agency period. And, hey – he’s a better ambassador than, I dunno, Mario Chalmers?



Well, isn’t THIS awkward …

The Houston Rockets – having courted Chris Bosh for the past few days – were essentially at the 1-yard line, in terms of completing a deal with the free agent power forward. In this case, losing Bosh at the 11th hour, for Houston, is equivalent of fumbling the ball at the goal line, and the Heat taking it all the way back for the touchdown.

Now, they’re essentially left at the altar. And to make matters worse? They have the equivalent of footing the bill for a wedding that will no longer happen, in the form of giving away SG Jeremy Lin to the Lakers, to clear up cap space for a guy who’s no longer available.

I promise I'll stop with the bad analogies.

I promise I’ll stop with the bad analogies.

So, what’s next for Houston? Well, getting restricted free agent SF Chandler Parsons back from the Dallas Mavericks, who signed him to a qualifying offer of three years and $46 million that Houston will have to match, would be a good start. They will, at least, salvage a trio of Parsons, Dwight Howard and James Harden that can still compete in the Western Conference. After that, they could wait and see the big men left after the dust settles from today.

In any case, losing Bosh won’t crush Houston’s title hopes. But it certainly won’t help them, or their fanbase, sleep tonight, knowing they were so close to landing him.

With all the talk of homecomings, there’s another one that could be brewing in the Windy City.

Chicago native, and current free agent from the Miami Heat, Dwyane Wade, is seen as a prime target by his hometown team. It would have been fitting for all of the Heat’s Big 3 to go back to their respective home states (James to Ohio; Bosh to Texas; Wade to Illinois), but, alas, Bosh was given an offer in Miami he couldn’t refuse.

Could you imagine this backcourt?

Imagine this backcourt.

And, while the Heat are also shooting for Wade to stay with the team that drafted him in 2003, the prospect of potentially playing in a backcourt with a healthy Derrick Rose might be too intriguing for him to pass up. Coupled with reports that the Bulls are also targeting Carmelo Anthony, a trio like that could make a lot of noise in Chicago.

At this point, however, everything’s up in the air for D-Wade, having seen his Big 3 blow up in a matter of 24 hours with the departure of James. Most likely, he will wait and see if a homecoming of his own will be the best thing for him.

In other big free agency news that might have slipped under the radar, Pau Gasol and the Los Angeles Lakers might have parted ways for good.

Gasol, who won two titles with the Lakers, turned down a two-year, $20 million offer from the club earlier today. With LA’s failure to nab any big free agents thus far, coupled with the fact that Gasol, 34, wants to win more championships sooner rather than later, the power forward will hit the ground running in free agency.

He has already interested in signing with either the Chicago Bulls or the San Antonio Spurs – both prime spots for possible title runs. With the former, he could go to a rumored landing spot for big names ranging from Carmelo Anthony to Dwyane Wade. With a healthy Derrick Rose already there, he could fit with their frontcourt, along with a prime rebounder in Joakim Noah.

In the latter, he would join an established system that knows how to use aging big men effectively (see: Tim Duncan, Boris Diaw). The defending champs would likely welcome Gasol’s skill set – if, I would assume, he was willing to sign on the cheap side.

Imagine this tandem.

Imagine this tandem.

Whatever he decides, it’s likely he’s seen the last of playing with the Purple and Gold.

In a day full of free agent moves, this had to be the most perplexing.

In a quixotic deal for both clubs, the Kings conducted a sign-and-trade with the Phoenix Suns, acquiring the rights to Forward Alex Oriakhi and a $7 million trade exception. For the Kings, they get rid of what many believe to be one of their best offensive weapons for a project player and cash. For the Suns, they get another point guard in a venerable sea of point guards – the young, up-and-coming squad already has Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, among others.

While I can’t speak for the Suns – who got a scoring guard who will likely be used in a sixth-man role – I can only speak for Sacramento. Many people already didn’t like the symbolic pushing-out of Thomas by signing free agent PG Darren Collison. Personally, I was okay with it, despite the fact that Collison looks like a lesser version of Thomas on paper. A sign-and-trade was fine, and I thought it would be a fresh start for Thomas.

But, to only get back $7 million in a trade exception, and Alex Oriakhi? As one of the hottest-scoring guards in the league, you would think the Kings could get back more than that. You have to wonder what the game plan is for Kings and Suns GMs, Pete D’Alessandro and Ryan McDonough, respectively. You can make the argument that, at face value, the trade did nothing to make either team better. And, at the very least, I’m not alone on this.

If someone can explain this trade to me in a way that makes sense, you are a smarter man than I. Until then, let me say this:

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