The Rockets are reeling from a very disappointing playoff series loss to the Warriors and could not muster any wins in the series after Kevin Durant got injured. After years and years of trying to build a team that was competitive enough to, on paper, beat the Warriors, the Rockets could only take them to 6 games and a 4-2 defeat. Even more devastating for the team was the reports of arguments and a period of no conversation between star SG James Harden and PG Chris Paul. The lack of chemistry between these two critical star players to the Rockets can damage the basic chemistry they have in the locker room.
Additionally, the Rockets don’t have much cap space remaining as most of that money was used to sign Clint Capela, Chris Paul, and James Harden. Daryl Morey should have known prior to signing Chris Paul to a 4 year, $160 million contract that he would be too old to be worth the money. Clint Capela also received a large contract worth $90 million over 5 years.
All in all, these three players are eating up cap space, inhibiting the Rockets from adding high profile free agents this offseason. Littered with talent and franchise changing ability, this year’s free agents would have been a great chance for Houston to potentially nab a superstar that would have elevated the Rockets to a whole new level.
However, despite all of these disappointments, the Rockets still have plenty of moves they can make to improve the team and give them a better shot in the years to come. Below are three possible routes that Daryl Morey can take.
3. Sign Al Farouq Aminu And/Or Danny Green
One route that Daryl Morey and the Houston Rockets can take is by saying important role and 3 and D players like Al Farouq Aminu and Danny Green.
Al Farouq Aminu is an ideal player for the Rockets as he is a great three-point shooter and an excellent perimeter defender. It is widely known that the Rockets are dependent on shooting beyond the arc and Aminu would fit that mold. In addition, the Rockets need a plethora of help on the defensive end. Aminu would provide excellent help on the defensive end guarding offensive guards and forwards that would normally dominate the shorter and less physical players on the Rockets.
The acquisition would be able to replace the void that players like Trevor Ariza left when they departed from the franchise last season. The biggest aspect that makes Aminu attractive is that he would not put a strain on the minimal amount of cap space that the Houston Rockets have. Aminu could probably be offered a contract of 12 million dollars over 2 years.
Danny Green fits a similar mold as Al Farouq Aminu. Over the past year with the Toronto Raptors, Green has been able to regain his status as one of the most premier and elite 3 and D players in the league. After shooting a whopping 45.5 % from beyond the arc, Green could become a dependable player in the Houston offense. In both playoff series against the Warriors, the Rockets suffered from long three-point droughts when none of the players on the Rockets could spark the offense and were constantly missing shots.
However, Danny Green would always be a consistent and dependable player on offense for the Rockets. Similar to his contributions with the Raptors in the NBA Finals, Danny Green can be a spark on offense for the Rockets. In addition to his great offensive contributions, Danny Green has excellent defensive prowess. According to NBA.com, Danny Green has a defensive rating of 103.7, which would be able to perfect aid the lacking Rockets who severely need defensive help. Although Danny Green would ask and need more money than Al Farouq Aminu, his addition would be excellent and vital to the success for the Rockets.
2. Sign And Trade For Jimmy Butler
Daryl Morey and the Rockets could also spend their summer trying to formulate a way to acquire Jimmy Butler.
The native Houstonian is coming off a successful season as a star and offensive beast for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers. He was a critical player on the Sixers last season and was integral during their playoff run. If Daryl Morey finds a way to trade for Jimmy Butler, it would be a success on paper. Butler is an elite two-way player that can break apart defenses and also guard elite offensive players. The addition of Butler would definitely make the Rockets a team to fear.
However, in order for Butler to come to H-Town, Daryl Morey would have to pull a numerous amount of strings. It would take an immense amount of effort to persuade the 76ers to sign and trade Butler. Morey and the Rockets would have to offer multiple first round picks, need another team to enter the transaction in order to make the financial details align, and would have to possibly deal Eric Gordon, PJ Tucker, and Clint Capela in the process. This is an enormous asking price for a guy who is known for being a negative locker presence.
Butler would definitely improve the team but he would take up our cap space for years to come and trading for him would mean that the Rockets would lose their young talent (Clint Capela) and potential to acquire stars in the NBA Draft (first round picks).
1. Trade And Open Up Cap Space For Future Free Agents
The Rockets could take the route that the Nets, Knicks, and the Clippers did in past years. They could trade players that take up their cap space and open max slots.
In addition, the Rockets could acquire several first-round picks in the process.
As stated earlier, both Chris Paul and Clint Capelatake up an enormous amount of the Rockets’ cap space. By trading them, the Rockets could not only unload players from their cap but also acquire young talent. This would make the Rockets more championship ready in years to come. With players like Andre Drummond and Demar DeRozan entering free agency in 2020, the Rockets could open up their cap space in order to recruit top talent and equip themselves for a deeper run in the future. In addition, by trading for first rounders, the Rockets could also potentially create a future for themselves instead of only being focused on the present.