The Houston Rockets are coming off an odd season. They started off 1-6, before losing two of their biggest stars in Clint Capela and Chris Paul to injury. But their fortunes were flipped when potential MVP James Harden started to take over. Breaking numerous records (franchise and NBA), he led the team to a final record of 53-29 and a playoff berth. Unfortunately, they were knocked out by the Golden State Warriors in six games, putting an end to their season. Here is a basic three-step map to what they can do this offseason to fix their team.
Ideal Rockets Offseason Scenarios
Trade Chris Paul
Chris Paul is a major part of this Rockets offseason. When they got him two years ago for a truckload of players, morale around the clubhouse and fanbase was higher than it had been in a while. But now, with Paul having missed large chunks of the season for the past two years, people are wondering if he is worth the 4 years, 160 million dollar deal that he was giving this past offseason. But teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns might be interested. Paul wouldn’t be worth much, and all the Rockets need is one young player, like Brandon Ingram or Mikal Bridges, and future draft compensation. This would still leave these with enough young players to effectively build a core, with a veteran nucleus, and fills needs that will help all teams involved.
Re-sign Important Role Players
One thing really came in the clutch for the Rockets. It wasn’t the return of coach Jeff Bzdelik, a defensive mastermind. Nor was it James Harden’s stretch of 30+ point games. It was the midseason acquisitions of role players. The Rockets didn’t have much depth at the beginning of the season. But in midseason, while players were being dropped, they signed many key pieces. Kenneth Faried and Austin Rivers were both incredibly important for them due to injuries, and re-signing them for depth would be one of the smartest things. Danuel House was a little known player who was shuffled around the league a bit before landing a spot on the Rockets Summer League team. He was eventually put into the G-League Affiliate Rio Grande Valley Vipers, where he shined. After being called up, he immediately became a fan favorite and was crucial down the home stretch.
Sign (at least) One Impact Free Agent
If all goes as planned above, the Rockets will look like a decent team, ready to once more make a run at the Golden State Warriors. But they still don’t have an impact point guard next to James Harden. With the money freed up from the Chris Paul trade, they can go out and get an impact point guard to pair with Harden. Players like Terry Rozier and Patrick Beverley would be available for a manageable price. They can also decide to sign a wing player, and move Harden to the 1. Players such as Terrence Ross and Trevor Ariza would be amazing fits on this team. Adding any decent free agent for a good price could amount to a championship, especially with the cap space that you have left over.
This isn’t a likely scenario for the Rockets offseason. It all hinges on the Rockets trading Paul, and I just can’t see them doing this, realistically. But like I said, it’s a dream scenario, for one fan. If all these can happen, the lineup could look like Beverley, Harden, Ingram, P.J. Tucker, and Clint Capela, with a bench of Rivers, Eric Gordon, Gerald Green, House, and rookie Isaiah Hartenstein. This is without them likely signing someone to their Mid-Level Exception. This team could be a contender and might be able to finally destroy the Warriors dynasty once and for all.
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