Houston can emerge from free agency smog as NBA contenders

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However slight it might be, there’s a chance LeBron James may not be a Miami Heat player next season, as he looks to give himself the best chance of winning more NBA Championships with his free agency decision.

The pressure is on the Heat to retool their roster around James and his two All-Star teammates, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, this off-season otherwise the most recognisable player in the game will take his talents elsewhere.

If he bolts, then Chris Bosh will likely quit South Beach too, with the Houston Rockets, and their offer of a four-year $88m contract, his most likely destination.

It shouldn’t be a great surprise if the Texas franchise pull off the acquisition, as they have a two-year history of shocking the NBA with their off-season pulling power.

In 2012 they broke up Oklahoma City Thunder’s “Big Three” in landing shooting guard James Harden. That was the first step of General Manager Daryl Morey’s plan to make the Rockets a title contender and he followed it up by landing Dwight Howard the following year.

The Rockets, who are currently 12/1 to win the NBA Championship with Ladbrokes, have aggressively pursued Carmelo Anthony, the other headline name in this year’s free agency pool, but it’s Bosh that would actually be a better fit.

As a forward who can shoot from beyond the arc, Bosh’s presence on the floor would give 6ft 11in centre Howard more room to operate closer to the hoop.

The last time Howard truly dominated the league was in 2009 with the Orlando Magic, where a similar setup was in place with Rashard Lewis raining threes from the power forward position.

Bosh’s ability to space the floor will also aid Harden’s game, while the former Toronto Raptor’s defensive ability would also significantly boost the Rockets.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.