Houston Rockets: Paul George is the superstar the team needs to chase

CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 20: Paul George #13
CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 20: Paul George #13 /

The Houston Rockets offseason is in full swing. The team has been linked to many big names but, there is one name that sticks out above the rest.

The Houston Rockets faltered against the Golden State Warriors in game seven of the WCF. There were many factors that could’ve possibly contributed to this. Chris Paul‘s grade two hammy strain. PJ Tucker‘s broken teeth and subsequent triple root canal. 27 missed threes in a row. Many things.

So, the triple brain trust of Mike D’Antoni, Tilman Fertitta, and Daryl Morey have questions to answer. For Fertitta: Do I open up the bank for max salaries and taxes? For Morey: Which players do I retain, let go, and seek out? And for D’Antoni: Which guys are coming in and how do I adapt to them?

Targeting LeBron James when he opts out after the Cavs win or lose has been long discussed. After being surrounded by a subpar supporting cast this past year, there’s a decent chance he jumps ship again. Especially after all of the “tired” talk this postseason.

Adding LeBron has some very interesting pros and cons. The conflicting alpha personalities of James Harden and LeBron could potentially be a con. While he has adapted his game well, LeBron isn’t a crazy spot up three guy. But, he is the best player to ever play the game and I’m sure he can adapt to anything.

However, LeBron will not be the subject of the rest of this post. Here’s the man that I think the Houston Rockets should target…


Let me explain.

The basis of this thought originates in the fact that Trevor Ariza wasn’t getting the job done in the playoffs. The defending was there but, his threes were not. I was thinking through what the team could do this offseason. Bringing Ariza back is one of the biggest questions. He’s been integral to this team’s identity in recent years.

However, he’s been extremely inconsistent in terms of offensive production. So, who are some guys that could provide the same boost from the forward spot? After running through some options that wouldn’t be an improvement (most wouldn’t even be that).

Then I thought, what if there was a guy that did what Ariza does but, on a superstar level. That’s when Paul George came to mind. Paul George is the quintessential three-and-d guy. He is an absolutely phenomenal defender and can knock down threes at a great clip, 40% this past year.

Ariza has only ever hit the 40% mark once in his career, in 2013-14 with Washington. He really hasn’t come close any other time. Ariza will also turn 33 this offseason. George will be 28 when the season starts. This puts him on par with Harden agewise.

George doesn’t dominate the ball on offense. He could give way to Harden and Paul, assuming the latter is brought back of course. George can take over though if need be. He can blitz the paint or like I stated earlier, can spot up and nail down the three.

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George can also spot up on the opposing team’s best scorer no matter position. He could lock down Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson. He could eliminate Russell Westbrook. Ariza could defend but, George is an eraser, a consistent threat for defensive player of the year.

How would it work?

Like a chase for LeBron or another superstar, it’ll cost the Houston Rockets a lot. But, a pursuit of George easily eliminates Ariza and his cost point.

The Rockets would likely need to find a taker for Ryan Anderson. This will likely be extremely hard to do. Other teams would essentially be buying multiple draft picks for about $40 million. So hard, yes, but, not impossible.

Signing George would likely have to happen before retaining Capela. If they get him locked down beforehand, they can go over the cap with Capela. Paul may not need to but, he would take a pay cut in order to add another start like George to the fold. Sure, George isn’t a banana boater but, he’d be a great addition to this squad.

Something to not overlook is that Texas has no state income tax. So, George could earn more here than other places. George is still young enough to value money and rings. George’s max earning potential is also lower than LeBron’s right now.

The 2018 Houston Rockets gave the Golden Warriors an amazing run. Adding Paul George could help them get over the top. George wants rings and money. Houston can help him get both. George offers Houston it’s best shot with the current squad. Things wouldn’t have to be blown up as much either.

Next: Chris Paul's recruiting pitch to LeBron James

So, look for the Houston Rockets to target George. He would be remiss to not let Houston court him a little bit. I’m sure we’ll be hearing about pitches from the Rockets’ stars as well.