I'd much rather have Chris Bosh than not have him. Anyone who thinks that the Rockets would benefit by not trading for him is being ridiculous. Bosh may not be a true "superstar," but that's not the point. He's a superior talent who would have fit in with the Rockets perfectly. You can't tell me that, looking back, the Celtics would rather have Al Jefferson and Jeff Green than Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. That may not be the best analogy, but it's darn near close.
The Rockets will no doubt be competitive, even without Bosh. Assuming they re-sign Luis Scola and Kyle Lowry, they should be just fine. If Jordan Hill can learn how to play the 5, which he will be practicing during the Summer League, the Rockets will receive a much-needed bonus to the roster. More versatility, less money spent? I like it.
But just fine isn't the same as championship caliber. And that's the level of competitiveness that Houston would have reached upon snagging a top-tier free agent. You can't ignore the truth to that statement just because Bosh decided to spurn the Rockets for national fame, South Beach and Dwyane Wade's bro-love.
As sneaky-good as I expect the Rockets to be this season -- I'm picturing at least a second round appearance -- they won't win a conference championship without a fair amount of luck. This is a team that will likely rely on outside shooting and free throw attempts to win games. Defense isn't as prevalent in the equation anymore, though Yao's return should help things quite a bit.
The Rockets also lack a true go-to scorer who can be fed the ball in isolation and produce points. Bosh is that type of player. Aaron Brooks and Kevin Martin, as talented as they are, do not fill that void. This Rockets team will rely on ball movement and off-ball movement to score, and while that should work effectively with the current roster, you can't help but wish that there was an easier option at times.
Regardless of what 'could have been,' the Rockets can now focus on retaining their own and preparing for next season. I'm excited as anyone about what this upcoming season will bring. But we can't act like adding Chris Bosh wouldn't have made a world of difference.
That said, it's nice to know that the overwhelming majority of these free agents will be heading East. Boozer will likely land in Chicago and Rocket-killer Amar'e Stoudemire already jumped ship to New York. As the Western Conference begins its journey to the middle, the Rockets' future still looks plenty bright.