STANDING ON THE VERGE OF GETTIN' IT ON- A FREE-AGENCY BATTLE PLAN FOR THE HOUSTON ROCKETS


If there is a team that feels like it’s trapped in the same cycle, it’s the Rockets. Year after year, the same things keep happening with these guys. Make a few shrewd trades. Sit back and watch in horror as half the team gets hurt. Win 40 or so games. Make or miss the playoffs by the slightest of margins. 

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of teams in worse shape than Houston. It just kind of feels like spending nine hours at the Blackjack table and ending up dead even. Sooner or later you need to see something happen, good or bad.

Of course, it could be just around the corner if this bunch has any luck to them at all. Heading into a big free-agent year in 2012 means plenty of stars are likely to be available at the trade deadline. All that’s left is for Morey to do is land one, and thus far he’s been the bridesmaid too many times to count.

RIGHT MOVE

“We got to get over the hump, we got to get over the hump…”

You know, like the Parliament song “Bop Gun”?


Ok, so most my references are pretty dated. Still, you get my point.

Seriously, how many seasons in a row can you be a middling team before everyone gets restless? Some would say that you should always either be contending or rebuilding. This team, well, they’re one move away from either.

Personnel-wise, it’s not hard to see that they’ve got a loaded roster, meaning they have enough depth to withstand injuries and still compete. They also have enough assets to make that one big move, should it present itself.

In the here and now, they’ve got a big, fat nothing at center. Whoops, they’ve got Haseem Thabeet. Same difference, no?

Sure, this free-agent class isn’t any great shakes, but the top 2 players in it just happen to be centers. Signing Nene or Marc Gasol would be considered a home run here, and the Rockets have the money to make it happen.  Such a move would immediately make this team a more legitimate threat in the Western Conference.

WRONG MOVE

Watching the Wheels go by

The worst thing Houston could do is…nothing.

Of course, Daryl Morey isn’t likely to make that mistake. For the first time since he’s been here, Morey is finally free of the shackles of Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, whose contracts and lack of sturdiness caused Morey  years of headaches. Yeah, it’s tough to land a true superstar in the NBA, but what good are they to the on-court fortunes of your team if they spend most of their time on the blink?

I’d say it’s a safe bet that the Rockets will be busy, and ready to pounce on any opportunity to add a star. They have to be.

BOTTOM LINE

This should be a new chapter for the Rockets, and I’d be excited if I was a fan. Yeah, they looked a little aimless on the court last year, but it was likely the result of “too many chiefs, not enough indians” syndrome. This kind of thing happens in Basketball, and it’s one of the more correctable problems you can have.

Mark my words, this next 12 months is gonna be the wild-west for player movement. Even if the Rockets fail to land the big free-agent targets, they’ll still be in the catbird seat when it comes to pouncing on whatever big time players become available at the deadline. Houston has more than enough assets, draft picks and money to burn, and as luck would have it, those are the three things every team usually wants for their departing superstar.

Houston may not be a serious contender today, but trust me when I tell you it can all change in the blink of an eye.

-John Hathwell
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