Wow! What a weekend for the Houston Rockets. That was like getting married to the girl of your dreams only to be left at the altar, wondering what went wrong when she didn’t show up. Then you go back to that best friend that you’ve had since elementary school where you’ve both secretly liked each other but have never been able to admit it, only to find out that she just got engaged to someone else.
How do you pick up the pieces?
Many Rockets fans are out on that ledge preparing to jump with you, after this past weekend. After missing out on the signing of Carmello Anthony, the Rockets felt certain they were getting Chris Bosh. With LeBron James headed to Cleveland, Bosh’s camp clearly led the Rockets to believe he was coming to them. So to prepare, financially, they unloaded…well PAID the Lakers to take Jeremy Lin off their hands. Only to find out that Bosh’s wife wants to be in Miami and Bosh thinks he can still be the alpha dog on an NBA team.
In effect, that is what cost the Rockets Chandler Parsons. Daryl Morey, clearly stated in a couple radio interviews Monday morning that had Bosh joined the Rockets they would have retained Parsons and matched the max dollars offer sheet from the Dallas Mavericks. Although in hind site the decision to not use Parson’s option year for this season looks like a bad gamble that honestly didn’t need to happen, as it’s clear now that Parsons was looking for a bigger opportunity and would have likley been gone after next season regardless.
When Bosh re-signed with Miami, the Rockets went to plan B and signed small forward Trevor Ariza. Most fans and media still believed they would match and retain Parsons, but as we know now the Ariza signing was the Rockets covering themselves and trying not to lose ground from what they attained last season.
So….do we jump off that ledge or is there still hope?
I believe there is still hope.
As a result of the 3-way trade in which the Rockets dealt Omer Asik to the New Orleans Pelicans, they picked up Trevor Ariza. They also picked up what Daryl Morey described as a “guaranteed lottery pick” (2015 1st round pick from New Orleans), much like the draft pick they used to acquire James Harden.
Ariza’s numbers were very similar to Parsons’ this past season and will be making almost half as much. You can easily argue that Ariza is the better defender of the two and didn’t we all agree that the defense killed them this past year? And if Ariza has truly found his outside 3-point stroke (40% in 2013-14) that is an upgrade over Parsons as well. What they lose in the change is Parsons’ youth and the chance that he continues to improve, and they lose their “glue” guy between Dwight Howard and James Harden.
In the same trade the Rockets also received small forward Alonzo Gee. Gee, who has a non-guaranteed three million due this season, is likely to be used in future trades for matching salary or released so that they can use the salary slot on someone else. I don’t believe Gee will ever suit up for the Rockets unless they have to go into the regular season before making their next significant move.
The Rockets also picked up a trade exception in the Jeremy Lin deal which should be around 8.3 million. Gee’s contract along with other non-guaranteed contracts that they currently have on the roster could allow the Rockets to very quickly create just over 10 million in cap space. Couple this with the Lin trade exception and the Rockets still have the flexibility to add over 18 million in other player contracts depending on how they go about it.
So what is available to them?
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