Forget following LeBron James, Chris Bosh should take Houston’s money and run


(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Maybe LeBron James stays in Miami, maybe he doesn’t, but reports are that the Houston Rockets have offered free agent forward Chris Bosh a four-year, maximum-salary contract.

The exact terms of the contract are impossible to determine as yet, but the contract would be worth between $80 and $90 million. By the Rockets’ calculations — with the state’s lack of an income tax and other cost-of-living factors being taken into account — the deal would be worth more than $120 million in some NBA cities. (Florida also does not have state income tax.)

If Bosh had not opted out of his contract, he stood to make $42.6 million over the next two seasons. With the Heat scrambling to keep the Big Three together, that number drops down significantly.

Bosh should take the money and run for two reasons.

Houston is paying Bosh closer to what he is worth.

The salary cap during the 2013-14 season was set at $58.7 million and the luxury tax line at $71.7 million. NBA teams spent nearly $2.4 billion to generate 1,230 wins, or $1,933,083.60 per win.

During last season’s run to the NBA Finals, Bosh averaged 16.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists and a steal per game during the regular season, giving him eight win shares for Miami – the same Dwight Howard was credited for last season in Houston. Simple math would tell before any postseason performance is considered and before a single piece merchandise is sold, Bosh’s 2013-14 campaign was worth $15.5 million. During his four years in Miami, starting with 2010-11, Bosh has been credited with 10.3, 6.9, nine and eight win shares, and at 30 years old we shouldn’t expect a severe drop off any time soon.

Houston is a better fit for Bosh than Miami

The Rockets would be a great fit for James if he decided to take his talents elsewhere, and many of the same reasons apply to Bosh, specifically:

  1. The Rockets have an owner with deep pockets (Les Alexander) who funded a roster that won 54 regular season games last season – the same as Miami.
  2. Houston already has the first-team all-NBA shooting guard in James Harden and a second-team all-NBA center in Dwight Howard.

Plus, Bosh might be an even better fit in Houston than fellow free agent Carmelo Anthony.

Harden averaged almost 61 front-court touches per game during the regular season while Anthony  averaged 52.8 – that could create some conflict between two players who like to dominate the ball. Bosh, on the other hand, saw 31.2 front-court touches per game and is more about creating space for his teammates, especially via the three-point shot. And this last point can’t be overlooked.

Bosh shot 51.6 percent from the field and 33.9 from beyond the arc, giving Miami a consistent perimeter shot that can stretch out an opposing defense.


Chris Bosh
Field Goal Percentage during 2013-14 Regular Season

That would allow Harden to penetrate to the basket (6.8 points off drives per 48 minutes) and for Howard to work down low in the post (13.1 points in the paint per game).

It can’t be easy to leave a team like Miami that has won two championships in four years with a Finals appearance in the other two, but Houston gives Bosh everything he could want: More money and a better roster for another championship run.

More on NBA free agency:

Silence only fuels LeBron James rumors

Will James reunite with Cleveland?

Fancy Stats: Best available role players

Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Love, oh my!

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.
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