As the Houston Rockets have five more games to go to wrap up the 2015-16 season, they’re fighting for the collective lives to make the postseason.
I had wondered if they wanted to go to the big dance or not but after their performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday, it goes to show that this team still gives a damn.
Whatever may happen in these last five games and thereafter still remains to be seen but I think it would be prudent to say that these guys are going to make it interesting down the stretch.
With the Rockets deciding to go small with Dwight Howard not being as enunciated on the offense, this team has figured a way to keep things moving without being stagnant.
But despite what the Rockets have in front of them, we can’t help to think what the Rockets will do in the upcoming off season.
It’s pretty much well-understood that a complete rebuilding of this team around James Harden — with the retention of a few current pieces — is going to happen.
Daryl Morey had jumped into uncharted territory this past off season.
Why do I say that?
He actually retained most of the roster without making any major changes.
In the nearly nine seasons he has been the Rockets general manager, he always usually makes the trade to change things up bit and has never really fallen in love with a particular player, with the exception of the franchise in Harden.
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We all thought that bringing these guys back would work but it failed miserably, part of the blame is that this team was built to be coached by Kevin McHale but with Harden seeming to tune him out just before being jettisoned, he had no chance.
J.B. Bickerstaff is doing the absolute best he can — considering the circumstances — but he just not experienced enough in handling the egos of this team.
I do respect him wholeheartedly though for the effort and the preparation he has for each and every game.
He won’t be here next season but he’ll land a coaching job that will make him happy.
He’s a Bickerstaff for crying out loud! Bickerstaff’s tend to remain employed!
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But back to that rebuilding thing I was talking about…
It has been confirmed by ESPN.com’s Calvin Watkins that Harden will be the lead recruiter to try to woo Kevin Durant to Houston.
We’ve already known that this was Morey’s top priority in the off season to begin with but at least we do have information that demonstrates that it will be their modus operandi for the summer months.
But, in theory, can it happen?
But will it?
I doubt it.
The Rockets do have a strong chance though because Durant would be paired up with his old OKC teammate, the fact that Texas has no state income tax meaning that he could save millions on his bottom line and the chance to featured in one of the most flourishing/fast-growing media markets in the country.
All of that should be enough to bring him here but with most big name free agents, they always find something wrong and they don’t end up signing here.
Ahem, LaMarcus Aldridge!
There will be plethora of teams pining for Durant’s services but where will he go?
That certainly all depends on how the Thunder perform in the postseason — because if they win it all or even make an extremely deep run, you better believe he’s going to re-up to keep that team together.
Space City Scoop
But with what likely is going to happen — they’ll bow out gracefully sometime in late April/May and Durant will start pursuing his options.
It’s almost a certainty that Howard will opt-out, giving the Rockets gobs of cash to throw at free agents.
At least for theoretical purposes, the Rockets can still sign Howard as they own his Bird rights so they can go over the cap, give him the max and then you have a big three in terms of anchors for the franchise.
But I think Dwight has checked out and he’ll likely be elsewhere in search of his next payday.
I just honestly think he’s an extremely-talented player but I’m not sure winning a championship is necessarily one of his top priorities.
Sad but true.
But all in all, the Rockets will make an extremely impressive presentation, he’ll be dazzled but he’ll back out and we’ll still be able to build a quality team with whatever contingency plan Morey has.
But if it happens, be prepared to line up on La Branch Street for that ticker-tape parade in the near future.
I know I’ll be there — will you?!?