Houston Rockets: Team must step up their aggressiveness in free agency

Houston Rockets guards Chris Paul and James Harden (Photo by Oscar Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets guards Chris Paul and James Harden (Photo by Oscar Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets have stood mostly pat while the balance of power is crazily shifting within the Western Conference out of the team’s hands. What’s next?

Houston Rockets fans — it has been a whirlwind of movement within the past 14 hours as we are finally seeing the fruits of the free agency tree being shaken off as Father Time has come harvest.

It’s absolutely insane — in just one decision that was made, a huge shift in the balance of power has occurred in the Western Conference and has put the Houston Rockets share of it in jeopardy.

As you know by now, Kawhi Leonard has decided to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers and he was able to pry away Paul George from the Oklahoma City Thunder to play with him.  George was traded for a huge haul of prospects in exchange for his services so the reported deal was as balanced as they come.

Now there are concerns that Russell Westbrook doesn’t want to be there and he may be requesting a trade of his own.  That’s going to be difficult — but not impossible — as he annual salary escalates up to about $47 million in 2022-23, the final season his contract.  Westbrook signed ahead of this season to a super-max deal for five years and worth $207 million to boot.

I honestly don’t understand why Westbrook wants a trade, this is his team and he’s being paid like a cornerstone to this franchise.  He needs to take a long hard look in the mirror and figure that he’s the problem.  He’s had not one, not two, not three but four All-Stars depart because they had trouble co-mingling with him.

George got the hell of out of there, Kevin Durant did two-stepped his way to Oaktown and the other guy is none other than our James Harden, who obviously felt he was much more than a sixth-man on a championship contender.

Harden has his faults but he certainly is a player that one can build around.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, it’s time for general manager Daryl Morey to get aggressive with his moves.

I know he’s going to be limited in what he can do because he has two players earning a max contract — Harden and Chris Paul — and Clint Capela‘s deal is not necessarily a walk in the park either.

But with their mid-level exception and a lot of the bench willing to come back at the league minimum salary, this can help Morey land a player that can help this team out in the paint.

This team still needs a backup center as well as forward as Nene Hilario and Kenneth Faried are free agents.

I would imagine the team would only bring them back as a last resort.

I wrote earlier this week that the Houston Rockets should kick the tires on Marcus Morris, who’d

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be a great fit with this team.  And to be honest, JaVale McGee is a terrific option as well.

They’ve got to do something because right now, they’re on the outside looking in and they’ve got jump back into the fray of all of these happenings.  I’m not expecting a huge splash but a Morris or McGee signing will make me happy.

With $131.3 million already committed to salaries already out of the gate, they’re just $700K shy of the luxury tax line so they’ll be limited in who they can sign with their cap space unless Tilman Fertitta gives the go-ahead to do what it takes and push past the line.

Although Fertitta has said he is willing to do so, I always say that sound bytes aren’t sworn testimony and I’ll believe it when I see it.

But the MLE is estimated to be worth $9.2 million so they can either bring in a player using all of that money or break it up among multiple players — the most prudent approach — to get the help that they need.  The money spent won’t count toward the cap and now is as a good time as ever to take full advantage of this terrific financial tool in the Houston Rockets‘ pocket.

dark. Next. Rockets: Marcus Morris would make an excellent team fit

We’ll keep an eye on what the Houston Rockets do next but they’ve got to do SOMETHING and FAST.

Come on Morey — let’s go Houston Rockets!