The Houston Rockets have been on the edge of title contention for at least five years now. With James Harden as their centerpiece, they've surrounded him with names like Dwight Howard, Patrick Beverley, Chris Paul, Eric Gordon, and (most recently) former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook.
Despite all these faces, and their impressive regular-season records, the Rockets have yet to make a Finals appearance. This season, with the Warriors down, Houston is really hoping for a breakthrough.
In fact, if the team fails to make a deep postseason run, it could trigger a full-on rebuild.
(via Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report)
“Houston knows it’s up against the shot clock. Last summer’s Chris Paul-for-Westbrook swap was an all-in push on Harden’s behalf. The deadline deal sending out Clint Capela to fully commit to small ball was an all-in move for Westbrook and D’Antoni. There aren’t any chips left to push to the center of the table. It might be now or never for this iteration of the Rockets. And considering the club ranks ninth in winning percentage and seventh in net efficiency rating, maybe it’s never. If the Rockets are ousted early from the playoffs, wholesale changes to the fabric of the franchise could follow shortly thereafter.”
While Mr. Buckely did not specify what changes might be in store, it seems the future of D'Antoni and every player not named Harden could be in jeopardy for Houston.
Depending on how things end, even Harden himself may be on the block when it's all said-and-done.
The Rockets have spent hundreds of millions on their roster over the years and have practically nothing to show for it. For Westbrook and Harden, it's hard to believe they don't have enough assets to pull in a massive haul of picks and/or young players.
The future of this team is very much on the line when the season returns this July. It will be interesting to witness how they respond.