So this is how this little saga will likely end. A wish list.
Fitting, since the idea of the Rockets ever acquiring Chris Bosh has all but proved to be nothing more than just that. A wish.
I'll admit, I was one of the daydreamers. I envisioned a Bosh/Martin combination that would give opponents fits. Throw Yao into the mix, as well as everyone else we would have kept, and that would have been one hell of a team. Defensive worries, chemistry worries, and injury worries aside, we would have loved this team. But you can't throw those aside - that's the rules.
And also, who would we have kept? If you noticed, I never went into extreme depth over the possibility of a Bosh trade, because when it came to deciding who exactly would be sent off to Toronto, I was at a loss for words. The rumors began with Jordan Hill. Okay, that's one. Next, we throw in the Knicks' pick, and perhaps this year's as well - that's two. Then we hit the wall. Who, exactly, would the Rockets have to trade in order to match the contracts? Aaron Brooks? That might make sense, but would Bosh be worth the loss of young assets plus a starting point guard and reining MIP winner? Doubtful. And then there was a name that everyone kept coming back to. Someone who made sense from a value standpoint for both sides(good enough to acquire, un-elite enough to trade), but not from a positional standpoint, and certainly not from a chemistry standpoint. And yet, that name kept coming up.
Luis Scola, please don't be mad. We love you, and we want you to stay.
You don't pay Luis Scola starter's money to sit on the bench. And if there was one guarantee that the Rockets made for this offseason, it's that Scola was going to remain a Rocket, and that everyone else could line up behind him. You too, Chris Bosh.
What's particularly interesting here is that neither the Rockets nor Bosh lose much. Sure, the Rockets can't pick up a marquee power-forward, but didn't we just make our big trade earlier this year? Aren't we still working out the kinks from that deal? Maybe I'm the only one who feels this way, but the way I see it, there is nothing wrong with letting a trio of Brooks/Martin/Yao go to work for at least a half-season. Throw in Trevor Ariza, Shane Battier, Jordan Hill, Kyle Lowry, Chase Budinger, and a first-round pick. Hey, that's not bad!
So perhaps some of the secondary players mentioned could be trade bait. Fine - as Mike Prada of SB Nation once pointed out to me, you can only stockpile so many assets before the opportunity comes along to trade them for a better player. In this case, that "better player" could be a top five draft pick. It's an option, and so is standing pat. Either one is fine by me, because I like where we currently stand, assuming Yao plays, oh, 65 games.
But at the end of the day, the Rockets will be fine because they have so many other options. And so does Chris Bosh. He can go to Chicago or Miami, realistically. Los Angeles? Nah, they won't go that far over the luxury tax threshold to land a player that improves their championship berth odds from 90% to 95%. And New York? Too risky, too unknown, too hyped. And Toronto must be boring by now, or else none of this would be so publicized.
So, Miami and Chicago. Perfect destinations for a guy like Bosh. They've got proven talent - young talent, at that - and have plenty of room to afford him. So why will today's "wish list" make Toronto GM Bryan Colangelo lose sleep at night? Well, it's because he is the loser. And so is Toronto. They are now about to get royally screwed.
Toronto had to have placed Houston atop the list of possible landing destinations for Bosh. We had the most young assets to include in a sign-and-trade, easily. Toronto would have, at the very least, received close to face value for Bosh's services. But now, with the Rockets crossed off the list, it's Bosh who is holding Toronto hostage. If they can't keep him, they're going to want something in return. Problem is, the "chosen" teams don't have much to offer. Chicago won't look nearly as nice if they give up Joakim Noah. Miami literally has nothing, aside from Michael Beasley or former Raptor bust Jermaine O'Neal. And while New York could give up David Lee or Danilo Gallinari, they probably want to hold on to the remaining talent they have in order to lure LeBron James. And Bosh isn't about to sign off on a deal that would send him to NY without a guarantee that LeBron would be there waiting, which isn't going to happen.
So that's the loser. Toronto, not Houston. Keep that in mind, fellow Bosh-dreamers. We're going to have to look for new mancrushes, but hey, not all hope is lost. In most cases, even if we do find someone to drool over, chances are slim that the Rockets will acquire him. Why? Because Daryl Morey will find someone better. It always happens, every time. We're not going to see it coming, this off-season, so keep guessing blindly, and you might get it right.
And, if you must, feel free to keep the Bosh faith alive, as the report has been downplayed. That's right, folks: the fun has only just begun.