November 8, 2020, 6:19 pm
How’d We Get Here?
The Rockets pushed all their chips in on small-ball, dealing away Clint Capela and landing Robert Covington. While Houston looked incredibly dangerous at their best, they unfortunately were nowhere near that form in the postseason. Russell Westbrook’s COVID diagnosis and quad strain kept him from finding a rhythm and he was ultimately a destructive force in Houston’s second-round defeat at the hands of the Lakers. Both Daryl Morey and Mike D’Antoni decided not to return and the Rockets are now left with a unique roster that no longer has the guidance of its architects. James Harden’s elite play gives Houston a solid floor but there will once again be plenty of questions to answer.
Unless, of course, Harden wants out. The Rockets hired a bright first-time coach in Stephen Silas but all of the front office turnover, likely brought about by ownership’s financial concerns, have Houston pointed towards a rebuild. Russell Westbrook kicked off the offseason by asking to be traded somewhere where he could play his old top dog role, and Harden started asking about Brooklyn, where he could team up with his superstar buddies, or Philly, where he could reunite with Morey. The Rockets look like a team that wants to rebalance the roster in a more traditional way, dealing Covington before the draft, so all bets are off. Dealing Harden seems unthinkable and still may not happen, but this is where we’re at.
Adding Christian Wood was a glimmer of hope but the Rockets started to tweak it with the future in mind, dealing Westbrook and his ugly contract to Washington for John Wall and his equally ugly contract (with bonus injury risk!) and a first-rounder. And so it begins.
Arrivals: John Wall, Sterling Brown, Christian Wood, DeMarcus Cousins, Gerald Green, Jerian Grant, Kenny Wooten (2W)
Rookie Arrivals: No. 52 Kenyon Martin Jr., UDFA Mason Jones (2W)
Departures: Russell Westbrook, Robert Covington, Jeff Green, Austin Rivers, Thabo Sefolosha, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Tyson Chandler
Retained: Bruno Caboclo
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