Rockets intensify Chris Bosh pursuit

ESPN's Chris Broussard reported Wednesday that Bosh was seeking a five-year deal worth between $80 to $90 million to re-sign with Miami, while Wade is thinking along the lines of $55-60 million over four years.

The widespread assumption around the league, when free agency commenced Tuesday at 12:01 a.m. ET, was that James, Wade and Bosh had all but agreed to return to the Heat after hashing out new annual salaries among themselves. But sources say the Rockets have been aggressive in testing Bosh's resolve, fearing that Anthony will ultimately elect to return to the New York Knicks or sign with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Houston needs a big forward with 3-point range such as Bosh in its search for the ideal frontcourt sidekick to All-Star center Dwight Howard. Sources say Bosh and Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki likely would have been at the top of the Rockets' list of free-agent targets had Houston believed it had a shot at either player.

Nowitzki committed Thursday to staying for three more seasons with the only team he has ever known, rebuffing Houston's attempts to recruit him, but the sudden uncertainty in Miami appears to have given the Rockets an unexpected shot to try to tempt Bosh.

The Rockets have maintained for weeks that they could move the contracts of Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin to create enough salary-cap space to sign a high-priced free agent if they could get a commitment from one of the top names.

Houston has already struck a trade with New Orleans to dispatch Asik to the Pelicans. And ESPN.com reported Saturday that the Philadelphia 76ers are prepared to trade for Lin and the $15 million he's owed next season as long as the Rockets attach suitably attractive assets -- such as a future first-round draft pick or more -- to Lin's contract.

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