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Thursday, April 29, 2010
Miller's nice, but Bosh still foremost in Rockets' sights

By Marc Stein

The newsiest element of Brad Miller’s declaration earlier this week that he has no interest in signing with the New York Knicks this summer was actually Miller’s disclosure that he is highly interested in staying with Chicago.

Until Miller mentioned a return to the Bulls, it was widely assumed that he was headed to the Houston Rockets this offseason as Yao Ming’s backup, enabling the 33-year-old to reunite with his former coach (Rick Adelman) and teammate (Kevin Martin) from Sacramento.

Miller told local reporters during the Chicago-Cleveland series that he has a “very, very, very small list” of potential free-agent destinations in mind. Yet it remains to be seen how much money and interest Chicago will have left for Miller after chasing the likes of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Joe Johnson.

Houston, meanwhile, is indeed interested in Miller as a secondary target after the Rockets make their own hard sign-and-trade push for a marquee free agent. But one source said this week that the Rockets-Miller link has been overstated at such an early juncture, with the start of free agency still two months away.

The Rockets’ No. 1 free-agent target? Sources say it’s still Bosh, who earlier this season said the idea of playing in his hometown of Dallas holds limited appeal … but hasn’t said anything to suggest that he wouldn’t play somewhere else in his home state.

If the Raptors and Bosh reach the expected conclusion that it’s time for an amicable divorce, Houston has amassed an enticing cache of sign-and-trade assets. One source, offering one small example, says that the Raptors are intrigued by young forward Jordan Hill, whom the Rockets extracted from the Knicks in the Tracy McGrady three-way deal in February.

As a (reasonably) big-market team -- with low-key cornerstones like Martin and Aaron Brooks, and a franchise player in Yao Ming who might not be a franchise player any more after being forced to sit out an entire season -- Houston can also offer the stage and go-to guy spotlight Bosh covets.

Yet it’s believed that the Raptors, if Bosh indeed proves willing to join the Rockets via sign-and-trade, will try to foist Hedo Turkoglu on Houston as part of the deal. Would the Rockets be willing to take on Turkoglu’s contract ($43.8 million over the next four years) and surrender, say, Trevor Ariza in return to clinch Bosh’s arrival? The cost of adding Bosh along with Turkoglu would likely be prohibitive for the Rockets, but Toronto certainly figures to try.