- Bradford Doolittle, ESPN Staff Writer
Once LeBron James announced to the world that he was returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the dam that had been holding back high-profile free-agent moves finally broke. But the resulting flood hasn't quite flowed in the direction we figured. Once James' decision was made public, it was all but assumed now-former teammate Chris Bosh would take up the Houston Rockets' max offer to join Dwight Howard and James Harden.
Nope. Bosh surprised many by agreeing to a five-year, $118 million deal to remain in Miami.
The Heat reportedly were moving fast to lock down Dwyane Wade, who for a few fleeting minutes was attached to nonsensical rumors involving the Chicago Bulls. Udonis Haslem is also expected to return. So in essence, the Miami offseason has comprised of adding veteran forwards Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger. Oh -- and losing James. That strikes me as a net negative.
You just don't get over losing a player like James easily, as fans in Cleveland circa 2010 can surely attest. Nevertheless, even after agreeing to contracts with McRoberts and Granger, Heat president Pat Riley still has about $15.8 million of cap space with which to work, per my colleague Kevin Pelton. James is joining a young team in Cleveland, while the limbo surrounding Carmelo Anthony means another powerhouse might or might not be forming in Chicago.
So is all lost for Miami?
As for Houston, after reportedly being ruled out of the Anthony chase and seeing its talented young forward Chandler Parsons sign a $46 million offer sheet with Dallas, the summer has gotten a lot more complicated. As Bosh's two leading suitors, let's talk about how the Heat and Rockets might complete their respective puzzles.
Bradford Doolittle looks at what options the Miami Heat have to "fill" LeBron James' spot and who the Houston Rockets could pursue after Chris Bosh decided to return to Miami.