Houston Rockets: An Open Letter to Chris Bosh
You wouldn't like Chris Bosh when he's angry.
Photo by Ben Gillin
I hope you are having a nice summer, and I hope this letter finds you well. I saw a picture of you on Twitter this past weekend and in the picture you were petting an elephant. I don't know if you were on an African safari or at the San Diego Zoo, but you appeared to be enjoying yourself, and outwardly you seem to have turned the page on the NBA Finals.
So now comes free agency, and I realize that the entire basketball-watching free world is focused on the decision of your teammate of the past four seasons, LeBron James. Hell, maybe nobody is more focused on it than you are, right? In fact, Adrian Wojnarowski was quoted just last night as essentially saying your preference is to stay in Miami and play with LeBron, am I right?
Of course, LeBron may not end up in Miami; you know this.
Rumor has it that LeBron may go back to Cleveland (which is like breaking back into prison, but I digress). In fact, Chris Broussard of ESPN says his gut feeling is that Cleveland is the favorite in the LeBron sweepstakes. (Of course, I think if you gave Broussard long enough, at some point his gut feeling would be that the bug is the favorite over the windshield.)
The bottom line is that there's a good chance you'll get your wish -- LeBron returns to Miami on a max deal, the shell-that-was-once-Dwyane Wade signs a deal that absurdly overpays him at around $12 million to $15 million a year, and you take below market value for your skills at, say, $16 million per year.
Wait, what? Read that last sentence again, Chris.
LeBron gets the max, Wade gets overpaid and you take below market value.
This is acceptable to you, Chris? This is your desired outcome?
"Market value" is a very easy thing to ascertain once free agency begins. Your worth is whatever the market offers you. You know how I know Miami's rumored offer to you is below market value? Because the Houston Rockets have reportedly offered you a four-year, $88 million deal. And $22 million is more than $16 million, or $17 million, or whatever low-ball, shaved-off, slap-in-the-face deal Miami has offered you so that they can give their boy Wade a golden parachute.
Seriously, Chris, you've watched Wade up close the last couple of years. By June, he's so beat up that he's stumbling around the court like Fred Sanford on a peg leg and a club foot. And yet they want him to make nearly as much as you, a big man still in his prime who has value around the league.
How much value? Well, in addition to Houston, I count at least four other teams with cap space whose general managers would crab-walk over broken glass to hand deliver you a max deal this morning if you truly made yourself available. (For the record, the Lakers, the Suns, the Hawks and the Mavericks.) Not to mention the half dozen or so other GMs who would ship out their first-born to make the space available.
My point is that you're a valuable commodity with rare skills, Chris. So I have to ask -- why are you being such a sap?
I get it, LeBron is your boy, and LeBron rescued you from the basketball Siberia that was Toronto by bringing you along for the ride in 2010. I understand your loyalty to LeBron. Loyalty is an admirable, all too often scarce commodity these days.
But there's a difference between being loyal and being a lapdog.
You've held up your end of the bargain, Chris. Without you, LeBron James is probably still a zero time NBA champion. Without you, his legacy is colliding in more sentences with Karl Malone's name than Michael Jordan's. LeBron needed you, Chris, and you were there. With every corner three, every elbow jumper, every big rebound in traffic at the most crucial times, you were there.
Without you, Chris, LeBron's journey to immortality is still stuck trying to merge right in construction traffic.
You helped put it in the HOV lane.
In fact, there were many pundits out there who said that, sure, LeBron may have been the Heat's best player the past four years, but you were their most important player. Now, I have no fucking idea what that even means, because inherently I think your best player is probably your most important, but screw it, pundits said it, Chris.
PUNDITS, I SAY!!
So why then are you the one being asked to sacrifice here? More important, why do you seem so willing to sacrifice?
Sure, in Miami you were part of a couple of championship teams. But having moved to Miami with LeBron in 2010, you'll always be viewed as someone who came along for the ride. Your legacy in Miami is more Silvio Dante than it is Tony Soprano, nice consigliere but not boss material.
Here in Houston, despite the Rockets' having two of the league's top 10 players, not only is the championship puzzle not even close to being solved, but in last year's playoffs series with Portland, it looked like the puzzle was a sudoku that was being solved by JaVale McGee.
If you were to come here, Chris, and the team were to win and win at the highest level, guess who would be viewed as the difference maker?
(This is where you point at yourself with a quizzical look on your face, Chris.)
YES, YOU, CHRIS!
You would be the X-factor! The final digit of the WOPR password, the crystal that opened the Fortress of Solitude, the rock hammer that finally clawed this city out of the 19 years of no-title-winning, shit-smelling foulness we've experienced since 1995.
You would be all those things, Chris!
You would be beloved in Houston, and there would be no more speculation as to just what the value of Chris Bosh is, for the league would know -- before you arrived, this was a first-round, one-and-done outfit, only to be transformed by the title-winning pedigree and crunch-time moxie of Chris Bosh, dammit!
Chris Bosh, transformative force. Chris Bosh, $22 million man. Chris Bosh, champion.
So do it, Bosh. Pick up the phone. Pick it up now and call Pat Riley. Call him right in the middle of his private fucking meeting with LeBron James, interrupt his PowerPoint presentation of Josh McRoberts's highlights and tell him to put you on speakerphone so that LeBron can hear it directly from you.
Then tell the two of them to listen real close and break the news to them, because maybe they haven't heard...
....Chris Bosh don't shine shoes no more.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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