Houston Rockets: Team plans to go ‘all-in’ for the 2019 offseason

Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets have just announced their strategy this offseason by deciding to go all-in for 2019. What will this likely entail? Let’s take a look.

The Houston Rockets‘ season ended with an unfortunate thud with the majority us having a bittersweet taste in our mouths.  We’re proud that they had a successful season and took the Golden State Warriors to the brink but yet disappointed that they couldn’t get it done, despite some factors swinging in their direction.

It’s mind-boggling that this team couldn’t beat the Warriors without their biggest gun in Kevin Durant.  So much preparation had been made with their defensive strategy with Durant in the mix, they seemed to be lost when he was out of the equation.

I honestly thought it was going to be easier for them since the Warriors are down one prolific shooter but that just wasn’t the case.

The Warriors went back to vintage basketball — the type that won their first championship back in 2015 where the ball movement was crisp, concise and any of their guards/forwards would be available to shoot the three at any given moment.

That was the case as Klay Thompson morphed into the one of old and Draymond Green became more active, playing inside/out, rebounding, blocking shots and taking the three when warranted.  Stephen Curry had zero points in the first half of Game 6 and then went on to score 33 points in the second half because he got hot, he got open and his confidence rose higher than the cruising altitude of a jumbo jet.

The Houston Rockets looked defenseless out there.  They stayed within striking distance but I had a bad feeling that the Warriors were going to overwhelm the Houston Rockets with their shooting.  It happened and the team ended up being on the short-end of the stick.

One of the recurring issues this season was the bench production.  It was up-and-down throughout the playoffs and it has be consistent all the way through.  The bench primarily consisted of guys on minimum-salary contracts so that the team would stay under the punitive luxury tax that penalizes teams for spending over the cap.

The bench consisted of: Austin Rivers, Kenneth Faried, Danuel House, Gerald Green, Chris Chiozza and Iman Shumpert among the guys brought in for minimal salary.  Quite honestly, out the guys listed, I’d only bring back Rivers because he fits like a glove in the Houston Rockets offensive system.  He’s satisfactory with his defense which is pretty much what they need off the bench.

But the Houston Rockets are changing course and Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports that Tilman Fertitta has given general manager Daryl Morey his blessing to go into luxury tax territory in order to keep this team competitive next season.

This means that the Houston Rockets will be going “all-in” once again next season to try to compete with the Warriors.  Since James Harden‘s super-max extension kicks in next season, the team will have already have $114 million tied up among their starting five for this season, which is over the estimated $109 million salary cap for 2019-20.  The luxury tax threshold is $132 million so they still have about $18 million to play with before things get more punitive.

They also have a $9 million mid-level exception in their back pocket that could be used — although the value could vary — and that will likely be used on Rivers and possibly other players that they come across in free agency.

The Houston Rockets could certainly look to orchestrate a trade of Clint Capela, clearing his salary off the books to bring in another star guard via sign-and-trade — *cough* Klay Thompson or Kyrie Irving — to pair up with Harden and have Paul come off the bench but idea of that happening in the highest of my pipe dreams.  But it’s not impossible.

All in all, it seems like the Houston Rockets will likely be looking at bringing most of the band back together with a few tweaks on the bench side.  The bench needs to be vastly improved and I’m okay with the franchise being willing to spend to ensure that the members of it are sound.

We’ll have to keep an eye out — let’s hope for the best!

It’s time to get it done Morey!