If the self-deprecating Rodney Dangerfield were the comic equivalent to an NBA superstar, it would be Chris Bosh. In 2008, Bosh was so far out of the purview that he filmed a campy cowboy homemade YouTube video to advertise his All-Star Game candidacy.
In the six years since, he’s become a two-time Summer Olympic gold medalist, two-time NBA champion and yet he still earns little respect. His superstar cache may actually have dipped. Bosh isn’t the self-promotional type, but if he wants to bolster his individual legacy, it may be time for the Dallas native to wave goodbye to South Beach in free agency while thanking them for the memories and say hello Houston.
Bosh and Dwyane Wade were the first to sign in Miami four years ago and did so without the pomp and circumstance of LeBron James.
While Bosh was on stage for the audacious ceremony days later that celebrated the Big 3’s arrival, he was the Heatles Michelle to James and Wade’s Kelly and Beyoncé. It’s a role he’d been acclimated to throughout his pro career because of his unassuming skillset and modest athleticism.
Tucked away in the only franchise left north of our border, Bosh garnered the last exposure of the superstar class that emerged from the 2003 NBA Draft and unlike Carmelo Anthony or Wade, Bosh hadn’t led his school to a Final Four.
In fact, his raw talent barely made a dent on the Yellow Jackets’ winning percentage as Paul Hewitt’s boys attracted more buzzards than buzz en route to a 16-15 campaign in Bosh’s only season. The next season, Bosh became yet another name in the Ewing Theory logs when the Yellow Jackets advanced to within one win from becoming national champions.
If the Heat accomplish a similar feat with Bosh running the floor elsewhere, it would shock the basketball community that’s always eschewed the statistics and recognized his invaluable currency on the Heat. The Miami Heat are currently discovering that as much fun as it was to wrap their fingers with championship bling, it wasn’t as fulfilling as they imagined.
James may now want to return home. Carmelo Anthony is vacillating over whether to stay home and Bosh is being wooed by the franchise nearest to his hometown.
The current market has been structured to foster a modicum of parity by making rosters such as the Heat’s unsustainable. After "The Decision linked the Heat’s trio of NBA supernovas buring brightest during their primes under the Miami sun, owners began rallying to make changes during the 2011 collective bargaining negotiations including the repeat offender luxury tax bill, a new CBA amendment that barred teams $4 million over the luxury tax from completing sign-and-trades.
The Rockets have benefitted once before from the Thunder jettisoning James Harden from their small-market digs to purge payroll before he was due a restricted free agent payday spike at the end of his
They may be set to pilfer another team’s auxiliary superstar if Bosh opts for the four-year, $88 million deal being dangled over his head by Daryl Morey over the alleged annual $13 million Riley is offering in exchange for the betterment of the community. Can a team of second-tier franchise cornerstones band together and rule the NBA? We may have our chance to find out. Bosh was the black sheep amongst the opus magnum of Big 3's. but would most likely feature more prominently in the Plan B Big Three's plans.
For Bosh’s own sake, he should take Houston up on their max contract offer. Houston's advantage is that their supporting cast of Chandler Parsons, Terrance Jones, Donatas Motiejunas and Morey's brain are more capable than Ray Allen, Josh "White Diaw" McRoberts, journeyman Danny Granger plus any other ghouls the Heat could dig up from the free agent crypt.
Daryl Morey is lobbing an extra zero onto Bosh’s automatic deposit. Conversely, Pat Riley is attempting to negotiate a backdoor handshake deal behind his back with Pau Gasol while extending a fist towards Bosh with his other.
Bosh is being lowballed plain and simple by Miami. The market is dictating that Bosh is worth a max contract. If he shows loyalty to Miami by giving them a considerable discount, he’s also opening himself to increased chances of being moved via trade sometime over the next four to five years.
We forget that Bosh averaged 24/11 before getting relegated to third option in Miami’s system. If the Heat were the Lakers’ Bynum/Gasol/Bryant triumvirate, Bosh would have been holding down the Bynum tertiary role.
If he can revert back to the inside-outside force that could drop an efficient 25 and 10, along with the occasional 40-point explosion, Houston won’t regret the Bosh deal. Gasol is great, but he never displayed Bosh’s offensive potency at any stage of his career.
Fans will scream and point to Bosh’s declining numbers, but that ignores the reality of his usage in Miami’s lineup. Bosh sacrificed more comfort than he did money when he signed with the Heat in the summer of 2010. While Bosh’s point totals have steadily declined in the past four years, his per-minute average has been stable even as Spoelstra has pulled him further and further away from the basket.
During his final season in Toronto, half of his attempts came from within eight feet of the basket. That number drastically declined once he migrated to South Beach until it dipped below 36 percent this past season.
Bosh’s final game as a Raptor was a 42-point, 13-rebound virtuoso performance in which Bosh connected on 20-of-23 attempts from the charity stripe. His final game as a marquee player for the Miami Heat was a dour 13-point, 7-rebound showing in which he attempted five treys and two free throws. It was a microcosm of the shift in mentality--but not a shrinking deposit of skills.
Four years later, Bosh had developed into a spot-up shooter, living on an island behind the arc and avoiding the paint like it was a childhood game of hot lava.
More importantly, in Houston’s lineup Bosh will be able to bulk back up from 235 to his more muscular 250 pound Toronto weight and play as a true power forward rather than as a position-less hybrid stretch-4 on offense and a center on the defensive end.
Inevitably, Bosh’s receeding rebounding numbers should rise near their double figures highs as he plays closer to the basket against smaller forwards.
Bosh and Howard are yin and yang, which would be a welcome sight after the failed incongruent pairing with Omer Asik crowded the lane, preventing Howard and the Rockets offense from operating fluidly.
A Bosh/Howard pairing should be on par with the Lakers’ championship post duo of Gasol and Bynum. They could be better, although the X-factor is Kobe Bryant vs. James Harden's unicorn defense (because nobody's ever seen it). Bynum nipped on Howard’s heels, but he could never keep up with his overall effectiveness.
Gasol’s reputation earned a come-up after he was acquired by the Lakers during the winter of 2008. Prior to his Laker tenure, Gasol couldn’t even win a playoff game out West, going 0-12 against the Spurs, Suns and Mavericks.
Two titles later, we’ve come to perceive Gasol as a world-beater and Bosh as a hanger-on clinging to Wade and James’ capes.
In Houston, Bosh can reclaim his name while competing for a viable title contender. He can stretch the defense and Howard can defend the lane from intruders while building a nest underneath the paint. There are still perimeter defensive kinks that need to be worked out, but everyone wins in a Bosh deal. Especially the Rockets, who could potentially become a 60-win team.
If the Heat move on from Bosh they can still pursue the crafty Gasol, who is still a modest double-double option/part-Boris Diaw passer in the post at age 34—four years older than Bosh, albeit without range that extends beyond the high post.
Bosh has been a pawn in the LeBron free agency machine for the past several weeks and according to Fox Sports 1/Yahoo Sports NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski (the real one). he's willing to wait it out until James comes to a decision.
Quote attributed to me on @Foxsports1 feed bit of context: Bosh's preference remains with LeBron in Miami, but he's open to Houston offer.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 8, 2014
Houston is Bosh's Plan B and Bosh is Houston's Plan B after getting eliminated from the Carmelo Anthony round robin free agency tournament. It may be time for Bosh get proactive, take some initiative and take the future into his own hands.