The off season…a time that NBA fanatics drool over. A time where the Houston Rockets looked to bolster their roster after a disappointing finish last season. They saw their season end in the most devastating way; a storybook shot that kids dream of all around the world. Damian Lillard hit a three as time expired that broke the hearts of Rockets fans everywhere. The shot ended the season and began the Rockets’ offseason leaving GM Daryl Morey with plenty to think about.
The Houston Rockets had dreams of bringing in a big name free agent, but first they had to focus on the draft. They selected Clint Capela in the first-round with the hopes of stashing him overseas. And with their second-round pick they selected a guard from Arizona, Nick Johnson. Their tactic with these picks was to keep enough space on their roster to make room for any big name free agent and the salary that would come along with them.
The Houston Rockets prepared for the July 1st opening of free agency but right before the period began, LeBron James opted out of his contract with the Miami Heat. This announcement sent a shockwave through every cap space eligible team in the NBA. Where would he go? The Houston Rockets reportedly were in talks with James’ agent, and although it was a faint pipe dream, the possibility was still there.
The Rockets did not present Chandler Parsons with a qualifying offer which made him a restricted free agent. With his contract up in the air and an uncertain future, many were unsure if he would return to the Rockets next season. Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks actively recruited Parsons and made him an aggressive bid, which put the Rockets at a crossroad.
Then came the Melo saga. Carmelo Anthony left the NBA guessing where he would go, if he would go anywhere. He toured all of the major suitors including, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Houston. Upon his visit to the Rockets, a photoshopped picture of Carmelo Anthony dawned in Jeremy Lin’s jersey, took over the front of the Toyota Center. *Cue the Jeremy Lin drama.* Rumors started flying left and right, Houston wanted Lin out. And they got what they wanted, they concluded their soap opera by trading Lin to the Lakers, and Omer Asik in order to have enough salary cap space to land Anthony or James.
The opting out of James left uncertainty for Heat teammate, Chris Bosh. With a failed NBA Finals run and an aging team, Bosh was looking to play somewhere new, for a max deal. He kept everyone guessing, with rumors that Houston were frontrunners. Bosh waited until his good pal James released his letter of intent to move back to Cleveland, in order to make his move. Bosh’s move would ultimately be back to Miami but even the best ESPN analysts thought he was making a deal with Daryl Morey to come to the Lone Star State.
With three failed attempts at landing a super star, Houston were left with a “Plan D”. With an offer sheet from the Dallas Mavericks on the table for Chandler Parsons, the Rockets had a decision to make. Match or Let Go? The Sunday deadline rolled around and the offer was not matched and Rockets fans said “goodbye” to Parsons.
After the Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Chris Bosh downfalls the Rockets reached out to Trevor Ariza and agreed to a sign-and trade-for the former Rocket. Ariza had a previous stint with Houston in 2009 and was coming off his best season with the Washington Wizards. They believed that Ariza would be the defensive upgrade they needed and he came at a much cheaper price tag than Parsons.
The Rockets then looked to boost their bench after missing out on the big names. They had quite a reunion as they signed former players Joey Dorsey, Ishmael Smith, Trevor Ariza, and Jeff Adrien. They also re-signed sharpshooter, Troy Daniels, to a guaranteed contract. This summer, the Rockets Summer League roster has performed quite well. Nick Johnson, Isaiah Canaan and Donatas Motiejunas have all showed growth and potential.
As it stands today, Houston will not have a Big-3 come October and will be missing a few of the players they relied on in their playoff run last year.
With all the roster moves made, are the Houston Rockets better or worse off than they were last season?
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