Rockets Free Agent-Palooza 2014 continued on Wednesday with a little controversy, some good food, and a lot of Melo.
In a visit that may ultimately be most remembered for pissing off one of the players currently (for now) on their roster, the Rockets wined, dined, and wooed Carmelo Anthony, making every effort to show him that the quickest avenue to winning an NBA title (which he, like seemingly every other player in the world, has said is his biggest priority) is right here in our fair Bayou City.
How much of the presentation stuck? That remains to be seen. Here's the latest on Melo and the other free agents that directly and indirectly impact the Rockets' future:
CARMELO ANTHONY, New York Knicks So, here's the abridged version of where this whole thing stands. Melo went to Chicago and test drove Derrick Rose's knee. Melo came here and test drove Jeremy Lin's jersey.
Melo went to Dallas and hopefully was courted via cheese ball cartoon. Today, Melo will be in Los Angeles where Kobe Bryant will lie to him about how good his knees feel. And in the end, everyone in New York seems to think Carmelo is re-signing with the Knicks anyway, so this is all one big circle jerk.
If Carmelo doesn't come here, I'm going to blame Mark Berman from FOX 26 for getting all up in Melo's business on the way out of Americas yesterday:
KYLE LOWRY, Toronto Raptors Word came out Wednesday afternoon that Lowry was going to take a few days to mull over a four year offer from his current team, with the thinking being that he badly wanted a fifth year. Then, at around 10:00 p.m. came this:
Sources: Kyle Lowry reaches agreement on a four-year, $48M deal with Toronto. http://t.co/oF4O0LJA6L
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 3, 2014
Well, I guess he didn't need that fifth year all that badly. So that's that. I guess the good news is the Heat didn't land Lowry, and that's one less free agent who could upgrade that roster. Which brings me to....
LEBRON JAMES, Miami Heat CHRIS BOSH, Miami Heat The thought all along with the Big Three in Miami is that it was just a matter of crunching the numbers to arrive at an acceptable mathematical and fiscal conclusion, which is code for "figuring out how much Wade and Bosh would need to sacrifice to allow LeBron to get a max deal." Most fans around the NBA (outside of Miami) had moved on to other names to upgrade their roster.
Then today came this:
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 2, 2014
Ok, I know, I know. It's Chris Broussard. Proceed with caution. Here's what he had to say:
When Bosh and Wade opted out of their contracts a few days later -- joining James who had done so before their lunch meeting -- it was widely assumed the three were working together and would all return to the Heat.
But sources who have spoken with two of the Big 3 said that was not the case. Bosh and Wade are intent on returning to Miami, but neither of them knows what James will do.
"It's not a done deal," said one source, when asked about James' return to Miami. "That's for sure."
Bosh and Wade were so uncertain about James's future after last week's meeting that one of them spoke about what the Heat might look like without James, according to one source.
So what does this mean? Well, it could mean exactly what it says -- that James is truly looking around. (More accurately, right now it's his agent Rich Paul looking around on James' behalf while he chills in Brazil.) It could be as "next level" as Wade and Bosh acting like James' leaving is a possibility to help keep heat (no pun intended) on Pat Riley to push as hard as possible for upgrades.
One other relevant item -- news that Bosh is looking for $90 million over five years. Bosh at that price, with James on a max deal, would make upgrading the rest of the roster a near impossibility.
All of this would seem to make James and Bosh (who I personally see as the best fit of all the non-LeBron free agents) at least slightly available, as opposed to two days ago when they weren't even on the board.
PAU GASOL, Los Angeles Lakers I don't think Gasol is on the radar for the Rockets, however, he's on the radar for enough teams that effect the Rockets that it's making me concerned, as in the last 24 hours, the Spurs and Mavericks have both been mentioned as possible landing spots, and last night came this:
ESPN has learned that Thunder stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook made a come-to-OKC pitch directly to Pau Gasol today in Los Angeles
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 3, 2014
The good news is that Gasol is seeking $12 million annually and the Thunder can offer maybe half that. This could be Gasol's last big pay day, and he's won rings already. (This is me trying to talk Gasol out of Oklahoma City by verbalizing it in a blog.)
GORDON HAYWARD, Utah Jazz Reportedly, the Cleveland Cavaliers are getting ready to make a max offer to Hayward, the current franchise player on a fairly shitty franchise in Utah. Hayward was one of five players in the NBA to average at least 15-5-5 (LeBron, KD, Russ, MCW are the other four.). So why is this relevant to the Rockets? Well, because Hayward is the doppelgänger for Chandler Parsons in every way. By every way, I mean the three S's -- size, skill set, statistics. (Ok, also, skin tone...FOUR S's. Fine.) Does a max offer for Hayward effect the Parsons market at all? (That is assuming the Rockets don't already have a wink-wink deal with Parsons as I've gone out on the limb to predict.)