Rocketing to Houston?

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:32 AM ET

If the Houston Rockets offer Mike James a healthy portion of cash, the free-agent-to-be will say goodbye to the Raptors in a heartbeat.

The point guard, who had a career-best 2005-06 season with Toronto after he was traded here from the Rockets for Rafer Alston, told the Houston Chronicle this weekend his "first choice" is to return to his adopted home-town of Houston and his "main focus is coming back to H-Town." The native of Amityville, N.Y., 30, maintained that stance in an interview with The Toronto Sun yesterday, despite the fact the Rockets traded him for another point guard in the first place and could offer him only the mid-level exception.

"Understand one thing. Right here, Houston, is home," James -- whose wife, Angela, is from Houston -- said from his off-season home yesterday.

"If a person has an opportunity in their career to be able to do something they love and doing it while sleeping in your own bed, driving into your own (driveway) and living in your own house, the house you spent money on, of course everybody wants to play where they want to live -- in their home-town ... My first option really is to go home because I love being back in Houston. I really miss being back at home and having my life here, with things set up and the business opportunities I have here."

Raptors president/general manager Bryan Colangelo, who has expressed interest in re-signing James, did not sound overly concerned by the comments. The Raptors will be under the salary cap this summer.

"(James) is going to exercise his rights as a free agent and he's going to see what's out there," Colangelo said.

James recently built a home in Houston, but made it clear he has not ruled out re-signing with the Raptors.

"I am not closing the door on Toronto at all," he said.

"Me and Mo Pete (Morris Peterson) talk all the time. Me and Chris Bosh talk all the time and I let them know I'm going to come back even better. As of right now, I'm still a Toronto Raptor. Whatever I do, I say: 'I am Mike James of the Toronto Raptors' or 'I am Mike James, representing the Toronto Raptors.' "

But, unfortunately for James, the Raptors do not play in Houston.

"If I could take the team in Toronto and transfer it to Houston, I'd sure love to do that," he said. "I wouldn't trade the (current makeup of the) Raptors for nobody."

Never shy, James said his "ultimate goal is to be the best basketball player of this era." To that end, he is planning to travel to Phoenix next month to take part in boxing training with Mike Tyson's group. He said after about a month of training, he would love to spar with Tyson.

"Why not learn from the greatest ever to do it?" he said.


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