With Daryl Morey as the mastermind behind building the Houston Rockets, there has always been a larger plan in action to try and take the team to the top of the NBA. Now that James Harden and Dwight Howard have been brought in, the seemingly final domino to fall to complete Morey’s plan is to add a third star to the roster. Many thought that the 2014 NBA offseason was their opportunity to do just that.
The Rockets made no mistake about the fact that they were in the business of acquiring a big-name, max-money player in free agency this summer. Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh were both in the crosshairs of Houston, but both ultimately escaped the sights of Rockets to re-sign with their respective teams. That left Houston in somewhat of a bind.
Houston parted with Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik and Omri Casspi via trade this offseason, largely to help clear cap-space to sign a max-player. Since the latter part didn’t ever happen, though, the Rockets lost at least two key pieces from their rotation. Moreover, the Rockets were also unable to re-sign Chandler Parsons after allowing him to become a restricted free agent and then not feasibly being able to match the offer sheet he signed from the Dallas Mavericks due to the timing and monetary aspects of the deal.
Not all was lost for Houston this offseason, though. The draft went swimmingly for the Rockets as they were able to grab a highly regarded long-term prospect in Clint Capela and also a second-rounder in Nick Johnson who looks as if he could possibly contribute immediately to the cause.
In terms of free agency, the Rockets made several moves, but only one real signing of consequence. No slight to the re-signing of Troy Daniels or the signings of Jeff Adrien, Joey Dorsey or Ish Smith, but landing Trevor Ariza in a sign-and-trade was big for the Rockets, especially with the loss of Parsons.
The deal that included Ariza, Casspi, and Asik brought more spoils for the Rockets. Houston added a first-round pick, Alonzo Gee and Scotty Hopson to their roster as a result of the trade, two players who could see solid minutes in Houston’s rotation this season. In exchange for Lin, the Rockets received to 2004 draft pick Sergei Lishchuk, which doesn’t mean much at all.
Though there is still a plan in place for Morey and this franchise, they seemingly took a step back this offseason. They did their best to replace Parsons by signing Ariza, but that’s still a downgrade and the loss of Lin and Asik is going to place a lot of responsibility on young, unproven players. Moreover, the team missed out on the grand prize of the summer in a max-money player. If you’re the Rockets looking at this next season, it’s hard not to be anything but a bit disappointed.
Final Grade: D