Daryl Morey knew there was only so much the Rockets could lose this past summer.
After the departures of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute, the team had to secure their core for the future. Meaning, they had to throw money at James Harden, Chris Paul, and Clint Capela.
Maybe they were better off letting one of them go.
Because by 2022, Houston will be spending a total of $106 million dollars on just these three players alone. Chris Paul, who will be 37-years old by then, will be making 44.2 million. James Harden is due to make 43.8 million, and Capela will make 18.5 million.
And since the 2022 salary cap is projected to be $118 million, it would leave the team with just $12 million left to spend on filling out the 9 remaining roster spots.
To make matters worse, this same core doesn't appear to be working.
With 14 losses in 27 games, the team stands second to last in the Western Conference, a reality nobody quite saw coming. This same team, with Ariza, went to the Western Conference Finals last spring.
Unless Ariza is just that vital to the team, then we have to assume something else has changed.
For the Rockets, they'll have to figure out what that is, or they might be stuck paying out three players that don't work right together anyway. So in their quest to "win-now," Houston might've doomed their future.