What if Chris Bosh signed with the Rockets in 2014?


HOUSTON – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inducted Chris Bosh to basketball immortality two weeks ago in the middle of the class of 2021. Bosh gave a 17-minute dedication speech recalling his legendary 13-year career. years with the Toronto Raptors and the Miami Heat.

But as Bosh stood on the stage recalling the two organizations and teammates that helped him at Springfield, it’s hard not to imagine what the native Texas speech would look like if he signed with the Houston Rockets in 2014. .

After losing the NBA title to the San Antonio Spurs, the Heat’s Big Three were coming to an end. Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James had given up their contracts, which allowed the Miami All-Star trio to be free agents before the 2014 offseason. The plan was for the Big Three to sign again with the Heat, but the idea of ​​returning to his hometown became more intriguing for James – as the four-time league MVP signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers that summer.

James’ departure from Miami led Bosh to explore free agency in the hopes of keeping his championship window open, and no team looked more auspicious than the Rockets.

After winning 54 games, Houston was coming off its most successful season since 2009. The duo of young James Harden and first Dwight Howard launched the Rockets in the race for the championship. But it was clear the team was missing something after coming out in the Portland Trail Blazers first round during the playoffs. And then CEO Daryl Morey believed something was Bosh.

According to an ESPN report, the Rockets have offered the big man All-Star a four-year contract worth $ 88 million.

Had Bosh signed with the Rockets, his talents would have given Houston arguably the biggest Big Three in the NBA heading into the 2014-15 season. The Rockets would have had more floor space – given Bosh’s ability to shoot the ball three-way. And Houston would have been the NBA’s best rebounding team in the league, a frontcourt that includes Bosh and Howard.

Photo by Bill Baptist / NBAE via Getty Images

Bosh’s skills would have created a match-up problem for almost any team in the league. But nothing more than the Golden State Warriors. Had Bosh signed with the Rockets, it might have stopped the Warriors from starting a five-year streak of pure league domination.

Remember, one of the Warriors’ greatest weapons back then was their ability to make great men unplayable. Almost every league greats have struggled to stay on the court with the Warriors due to their lack of defensive mobility to keep the perimeter and their lower three-point shots than Golden State. Bosh was quite the opposite.

In both games played against the Warriors in 2015, although the Heat lost by an average margin of 16.0 points, Bosh recorded 26 points and 8 rebounds while shooting 48.6% from the field, 57.1% behind the arch.

Considering how the 2015 season unfolded – with Houston winning 56 games – Bosh would have been enough for the Rockets to defeat the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals and the Cavaliers for their first NBA title since 1995. But in reality, the Rockets did. dodged a large bullet in their failed pursuit of Bosh.

After Bosh chose to re-sign with the Heat on a maximum contract, the 11-time All-Star began battling blood clots in February 2015. Ongoing health issues led to early retirement for Bosh afterwards. the 2016 season.

If the Rockets had managed to sign Bosh, Houston would never have had the opportunity to reap the rewards of their Big Three of Bosh, Harden and Howard. Bosh’s arrival in Houston in 2014 would have created his own “What if” when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame seven years later.

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