More Thoughts on Bosh

2010 January 9
by rahat huq

Note: Post edited with addition at the bottom

Many have expressed their reluctance towards a Bosh trade given the probable cost being Landry and Brooks (or two other core components.)  I think one overlooked aspect of such a deal is a potential follow-up Tracy McGrady trade.

Allow me to explain:

First, a trade for Chris Bosh would most likely require gutting this roster of at least two core pieces.  This is because it is highly unlikely that the Raptors would accept a deal involving Tracy McGrady – Bosh is an expiring contract in his own right, so there would be no motivation for such a swap.

Secondly, a trade of Tracy McGrady for anyone of any significance (ie: Iguodala) would almost surely push the Rockets over the luxury tax for next season.  This is because the motivation for the other team in such a trade would be to also unload some unwanted albatross (ie: Dalembert/Brand.)

In such a scenario, after re-signing Kyle Lowry and Luis Scola this summer, as well as their draft pick, the Rockets would then be over the tax limit next season.  (It is highly, highly unlikely that the team would prefer the return on a McGrady trade over Lowry/Scola and let the latter two walk – they won’t gut their nucleus for someone like Iguodala, in my opinion.)

In my opinion, at status quo, it’s highly unlikely that Les Alexander would sign off on an Iguodala/Dalembert package. From a business-risk perspective, such a team just wouldn’t be worth paying millions in luxury tax.

Because of the financial implications, any trade of Tracy McGrady goes through Les Alexander.  This is the key point.  Daryl Morey has stated numerous times that this team will not exceed the luxury tax threshold unless presented the opportunity to acquire a “special” player.  In my opinion, Andre Iguodala does not fit such a description.

If you are still following me, we now come to Chris Bosh and Marc Stein’s insistence of a Morey Bosh push.

I think it’s highly unlikely that Daryl Morey would gut his roster in a Bosh trade unless he had been given clearance from Alexander to re-tool through a follow-up McGrady trade.  A team of Bosh, Yao, and the holdovers from our current core after a Bosh trade probably isn’t much better than the current status quo.

So we’ve ruled out Iguodala alone, for financial concerns, and Bosh alone, for asset concerns.  But what about making both trades together?

That would give the team a core of Yao, Bosh, and Iguodala, the latter two both still 25.  That is a nucleus, which, in concert with Morey’s now proven ability to find cheap assets, would almost surely be considered worth paying the luxury tax.  In addition, such a combination would make use of the asset that is Tracy McGrady’s contract.

There is merit to the argument that Chris Bosh is not worth both Carl Landry and Aaron Brooks (or a similar package.)  However, if my previous assumption of Les’ reluctance to pay the tax is true, then just through actually enabling a McGrady trade, a Bosh trade is the best course for total asset optimization, regardless of cost.

If this team maintains the status quo, I do not think they can gain maximum potential return on Tracy McGrady.

Thus, Mark Stein’s insistence of a Morey Bosh push makes me wonder if a dual-blockbuster two-step may indeed be the plan.  For the reasons I have outlined, I think it would be the best route for this franchise’s future.

Edit***:

I think I did a poor job explaining my thought process on this last night.  The important thing to remember is to view these transactions not through the lens of personnel management, but rather ownership.

What I mean is that a team comprised of Yao, Iguodala, Scola, Landry, Battier, Ariza, Brooks, and Lowry may very well be better than one with Bosh replacing Landry and Brooks.  I don’t agree with the sentiment, but taking chemistry into consideration, the argument has merit.

However, what’s important to keep sight of is the risk factor.  If you’re Les Alexander, you’re willing to trade for Dalembert (and thus Iguodala) in the second aforementioned scenario because Chris Bosh is just a sounder financial investment than are Landry and Brooks.  Bosh is proven while Brooks’ and Landry’s production may be inflated by their current roles.  (I don’t think production inflation is the case, but from a risk perspective, it’s not a safe bet for ownership.)  So even if Morey might think a team with Landry and Brooks is superior to one with Bosh, I just can’t see Les signing off on the tax implications of Iguodala/Dalembert, and thus, you lose out on the return from ‘The McGrady Asset.’

So the main point regarding Bosh is simply to enable the acquisition of a second star like Iguodala.  It’s not to actually improve the team in and of itself.

Finally, it’s been proven that Morey can find cheap assets from the dumpster.  Budinger looks to be the next in this line.  With this being the case, it’s just a smart decision to trade two uncertain commodities for a proven one in Bosh.  The next Landry and Brooks can easily be found once more, and at a fraction of their expected future cost (once the pair hit free agency.)  Sell high.

Edit II:

Peter Vescey is now reporting that the Lakers are exploring a deal to send Andrew Bynum to Toronto for Chris Bosh.  I can’t see either side turning down such a deal.  And I feel ill.

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  • DowJones
    What do you think of the Caron Butler rumours? A package of Foye (who i still believe can be salvaged and become a solid rotation player, perhaps even a starter) and Butler for McGrady def has appeals.

    I really don't see Bosh getting traded mid-season and the chicago rumors currently throwing around just doesn't seem like the type of move Morey would make (taking on a long term contract, Cpt. Kirk, for some return in talent--Tyrus is just not enticing enough...now Noah....next to Yao....drools).
  • rahat_huq
    financially, you can't find a better value than butler foye/miller. i also feel that butler is a better player for this team than iguodala due to an actual ability to create off the dribble (iggy can, but he's not too refined.) the problem is that caron is already 29 and is very injury prone. i guess it would depend on if they could nab foye and what morey thought of him. too bad we can't then turn around and trade him and luther head to portland for the #6 pick, lol.
  • pman
    lakers are greedy
  • pman
    lakers are greedy
  • JJTO
    As a T.O. guy I think Bosh's odd's of staying put are higher than you guys think, but for arguement's sake I can tell you this. Toronto already has a fairly deep bench, with guys like Amir Johnson, Sonny Weems,Marco Bellinelli,Antoine Wright, and two legit point guards in Calderon and Jack. If this trade was going to happen Brian Colangelo looks for a Bosh placebo, plus a solid wing player who can defend. The other thing to concider is that Bosh is undoubtedly the leader on this team, anyone coming in would have be a strong presence in the dressing room or on the floor, otherwise the Rap's identity would be shaken to non-existant. That is why I definitely don't think Bosh- Bynum will happen. Food for thought...
  • rahat_huq
    thanks for the perspective. while you raise an interesting point, at the end of the day, you would have to agree that talent trumps other considerations. even despite the leadership issue, would you not agree that bynum would by far be the best offer any team could put together? true, they lose out in the leadership department, but if deciding to trade bosh, there's no scenario where they could actually replace him - the point would be to just do the best you can.
  • Easy
    Good point about the leadership issue. If Toronto is looking for someone to replace Bosh's leadership role, Scola, Battier, even Brooks would potentially be more attractive than Bynum. I am not familiar with the Raptors' dynamics, so I don't know how true this is.
  • durvasa
    The one thing that might keep LA from trading Bynum for Bosh is he'd be more expensive. He'll be getting around 4 million more per season (assuming Lakers would want to resign him). And as LA seems likely to be over the luxury tax for the next several years (while they keep Kobe and Pau together), that means the Lakers will have to spend an extra 8 million for Bosh instead of Bynum.
  • luislandry
    I just feel the reports indicate the Rockets are too confident they can resign Bosh (because I don't feel this is worth it for just the remainder of this season). Is it that much more likely than signing talent this summer that it would be worth trading away some of our best talent?

    On the other hand, the Rockets are stacked with role players, so there would be a lot left even after the trade. I just feel like it's awfully chancy that they are trading away Landry and Brooks for half a season of Bosh.

    If they do sign Bosh, though, this will make the team better. The comments are right though, another point guard is necessary...CP3? =)

    On the downside, I'm an NBA fan and a player fan more than a team fan. I liked Houston because Hakeem was my favorite player, and I like them now because of the guys on their team, so I'll at least be slightly less of a fan and slightly more of a Raptors fan if they gain two of my favorite players.
  • bob schmidt
    When you look at what it takes to field a winning team, you have to remember that it takes a core of 8 or 9 players who cover over 90% of the playing time. The performance efficiency ratings show that Landry (23.2), Scola (17.4), Brooks (16.0), and Lowrey (15.6) are our only players rated above average.

    Bosh rates 26.3 which is near the top of efficiency ratings, while Iggy rates 18.7 and Dalembert rates 15.9, the primary players mentioned in trades so far. Question is this, are the Rockets better off with one highly rated player than two rated just a little bit lower? Maybe not, if the two lower rated players are paid less together than the one of higher rating.

    I hope that we formulate any trades around our unproductive assets, which are Tmac and Cook. Jermaine Taylor and Dorsey might be good trade sweeteners, if needed. If no good trades are available, we'll have enough cap room next season for a top level free agent. Meanwhile our chemistry is not messed up. In addition, Ariza might be good trade bait. His efficiency rating is only 12.5 yet many still have hopes for his upside. Maybe we should take advantage of that before he is perceived to be an unsuccessful experiment. I wish that I had more hope in his upside......
  • rahat_huq
    bob - unless battier is traded for an expiring, and lowry and scola are let go, the team won't have cap space this summer, atleast not more than what the MLE would afford them (a team loses their MLE if under the cap.) this is why it is imperative to atleast bring back something for mcgrady.
  • bob schmidt
    McGrady's contract doesn't expire and give us cap room?
  • rahat_huq
    Nope. our total team salaries for this year is at $74million. noone knows for sure, but the cap could be as low as $53million next season. the salary cap is a factor of total BRI (basketball related income.) we're obligated to $40million next season, already not enough for a max-level offer, and this isn't including the expected pay raises for scola, lowry, and our first round pick.
  • bob schmidt
    I was under the impression that if we passed on Cook and Tmac, the 26 million reduction in salaries would give us room for a max level offer. When I look at the Lackers 83 million payroll this year, makes me wonder how they made the numbers work.........Can't we exceed the cap if ownership is willing?
  • rahat_huq
    Bob - I should probably write a post explaining all of this more clearly as I think I have probably done a poor job with this thus far and a lot of our readers may be confused. What you aren't considering is the luxury tax threshold - a limit which teams are penalized $1 for each dollar that they are over. its derived by a complex formula dependent upon overall BRI. for this season, the limit is at $69.9 million.

    so keep in mind, for the rockets, the problem isn't the actual salary cap. they are willing to exceed. the issue is the luxury tax. not only are teams taxed, but the total pot is then redistributed to the teams who were under, so the teams going over miss out on this. a team like the lakers and mavs is willing to pay this tax. the question for the rockets is whether they would be willing. thus far, they have not.

    sorry for the confusion thus far. i will have a post up sometime in the next few days explaining all of these salary cap issues with more clarity.
  • bob schmidt
    Thanks rahat, I'll be looking for that post. I have read somewhere that under the right circumstances we might consider going into the luxury tax range. Probably saw that on the houston chronicle sports comments, but not sure of that. I just don't want to see the core of our team torn apart ...........
  • Alituro
    Good Article Rahat! I'd have to agree totally about selling high on Brooks and Landry. I've enjoyed their play and the hard work they've put in immensely. They have handled the inflated roles this season expertly, which will make it hard to pay them their market value in the future while building a core around Yao and still trying to obtain another big name. The one and only concern about trading Brooks, is that it will leave us thin at the point. Lowry can certainly hold down the point without question, and will thrive with someone like Bosh or possibly Iggy to dish to. But he also plays a hard nosed style that I fear one day will result in injury. We'd need to pull in at least a 2nd rate point somehow in all of this. I think without question a team with a chief 10-guy rotation of: Yao, Bosh, Scola, Iggy, Lowry, Chase, Battier, Ariza, Hayes and (insert point guard here) would put us at the top of the league, and would therefore be justifiable to obtain at almost any cost. Insert Andersen for Yao for the rest of this season and we are most likely still better than we are now. I've loved the tenacity I've seen from our current rotation and am so proud to call them my team regardless of what transpires. As a diehard Rocket fan, I will always thirst for more until the day we are able to regularly slay the beasts that are the Lakers and Celtics, and once again rule the State of Texas and dominate the Western Conference, and until then I will not be content.
  • SeanH97
    I think it's important to note that the reason that so many current Rockets are valuable is that they are performing at a significantly higher level than their contracts would suggest. Once their contracts expire, which in the cases of Scola, Landry, Lowry, and Hayes is next year, they lose much of their value as they will expect to be paid around market value. Considering this, these mentioned players would probably seem more expendable to Morey in his plans for the future as he is essentially looking for underpriced players. If Toronto also sees it this way, I don't know why they would do this trade unless they get Brooks, since their reason for trading Bosh is that they don't think they can resign him.

    Brian, I don't think the Rockets necessarily would need to add a big if they got Bosh, especially with Morey recently saying that he thinks Dorsey is NBA ready.
  • Easy
    I don't think the strategy of trading off your assets once they are becoming "expensive" is a good idea. You'll then have a revolving door team that would rarely be stable enough to contend. The Clippers has been using that method for years. Alexander is not Sterling.

    It is good to sell high for some elite talents when you are building. But at some point, you'll have to say, "This is the team we take to glory," and pay your core their fair market values.
  • rahat_huq
    Oh yeah, defiitely, I agree. I think the point is to sell until you're certain that the assets are valued correctly. Bosh's price is set by the market. We don't know what Brooks' and Landry's real value actually is. So you sell for the sure thing in Bosh, and then stop and THEN develop the chemistry with the properly assessed pieces.
  • Hai
    Hi Rahat just wanted to stop by and say I love reading your blog.
    Just a couple of quick inquiries. How do you suppose the Rockets acquire two "star" grade players in Bosh and Iguodala? Note I am assuming you are refering to trades before the deadline as Mcgrady comes off the roster after the season.
    1. You mention the trade for Bosh first up "most likely require gutting this roster of at least two core pieces" and that a trade for Bosh would "probably cost ...Landry and Brooks". I'm not sure how you get this assumption. Are you saying that it would cost (for example) Landry and Brooks in addition to McGrady's contract? Because a trade of Landry (3mil/yr) and Brooks (~1mil/yr) for Bosh (~15.8mil/yr) could not happen without the inclusion of other core players as the numbers dont add up. I take it Mcgrady is included in the Toronto trade as no way the Raptors trade Bosh without McGrady's expiring.
    2. If we acquire Bosh then most of our valuable assets are now gone. How do you suppose getting Iguodala with nothing to trade back?
    Also the team holds a player option on Carl Landry for the 10/11 Season for 3mil so "carl will be unrestricted next summer" is wrong.

    Sorry if I seem to be attacking your post, I just don't understand how you see us getting both Iguodala and Bosh as you mention "a core of Yao, Bosh, and Iguodala" so Yao's contract has not been traded.

    Also it is so frustrating to see Ariza, a 30.6% career three point shooter continue to jack up 3's like he's Ray Allen. Seriously, he's 5th in the league at 6.2 attempts a game and is only making 31.3% of attempts. He takes more 3's then Brooks, who's making an efficient 39.5%. Where does this freedom to be a great a player as he can be stop?
  • rahat_huq
    Hai:

    1. When I say the cost would be Landry and Brooks, I mean as the talent heart, not literally. You could presumably add the likes of Ariza and Cook to add up to within range of Bosh's salary.

    2. My assumption here is based on the report of the Sixers' willingness to trade Iguodala for McGrady simply for the cap relief garnered by also including Brand/Dalembert. So in this hypothetical scenario, I am assuming that no asset would need to be attached to McGrady.

    3. By 'next summer', I am referring to next summer, not 'this' summer. The team has a player option on Landry this summer which it would undoubtedly pick up, after which he will become unrestricted the following summer.
  • rahat_huq
    that was one of the main questions i posed in morey part 1: value vs. chemistry. we knew these assets garnered much of their value from being underpriced. that would lead one to believe that 'selling high' would be the obvious route. yet on the other hand, we have to consider chemistry. is chemistry worth the cost of potentially overvalued assets? we'll find out in the next months.
  • I've been seeing people bringing up the need to resign Scola as a reason we can't get Bosh, either now or in free agency, but wouldn't getting Bosh make Scola expendable? Why insist on not getting someone just so you can keep a guy who plays the same position but is 5 years older and not as good?

    That said, your dream Iggy & Bosh trade would instantly move the Rockets into the elite of the West, assuming they have some sort of warm body as a guard (keeping Brooks would be clutch).
  • You know, unless we don't retain Landry (whom we would almost certainly have to give up in a trade), we would then need a reserve big man who gives you something a little better than Chuck and Andersen. Then that makes sense and gets a bit rough on the books.
  • rahat_huq
    important thing to keep in mind is that scola is restricted, whereas carl will be unrestricted next summer. so keeping scola shouldn't be too great of a concern - at his age, i can't see him getting more than $7mill/per on the market. landry on the other hand could get considerably more than that next year, at this rate, and we won't have any right of refusal. that might be part of the motivation to sell high on landry. we'll have full control on scola, but will just be exceeding the tax if making such a series of moves. however, i do think it would be considered worth the cost. a big man rotation of bosh, yao, and scola is pretty formidable.
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