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The Major Issue With The Rockets That Nobody Is Talking About

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One win away. Just one more victory, and we'd be seeing the Houston Rockets tango with King James and the Cavs right now. One more win over the Warriors and the Rockets' "dream" season would likely be ending with a Championship parade.

But, alas, the injury demons struck again for H-town and all but eliminated their chances of closing out the Warriors in Games 6 and 7. James Harden faded in the end, CP3 was nursing that nagging hamstring and the Dubs used those flaws to flip the script, marking a rather underwhelming end to Houston's spectacular season.

And to make matters worse, the Rockets' hopes of keeping the team together (or acquiring LeBron James) this summer is anything but promising. See, for the last few months, rumors regarding LeBron's next destination have circulated around Houston.

LeBron would get to play with one of his best friends, would give him an opportunity to play off-ball, and would give all three stars a good chance at challenging the Warriors next season. Bearing those facts in mind, the Rockets were named one of the heavy favorites to sign James this July. No doubt, that would become quite a show.

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And even though everything mentioned above is still technically possible, there's one huge, glaring problem with the whole scenario: Chris Paul. In a report by Shane Mickle of ClutchPoints.com late last week, CP3 will demand the max from the Rockets this summer, and will, therefore, be very unlikely to agree to any sort of pay cut.

"When the Rockets made that deal for Chris Paul, knowing they would re-sign him [once he hit free agency], they made a conscious decision that they were gonna have to live with [paying him] $46, $47 million-a-year salary when he's not nearly the player anymore in his late 30s, but, 'We're gonna make a run at it now; we wanna win a championship now. We'll deal with it [Paul's contract] later.'

"We'll see how that plays out in their contract talks [with Paul] here in free agency. Chris Paul didn't turn down $200 million from the Clippers because he thought that somehow the Rockets were gonna talk him into saving them luxury-tax money. I don't imagine it playing out that way."

Why is this such an issue? Because that huge, money demanding salary will make it almost impossible for the Rockets to acquire LeBron James, who will want pretty much the same amount.

Additionally, other vital members of the team will likely seek big contracts as well, like Clint Capela, Trevor Ariza, and Gerald Green. If they extend a max offer to Paul (a 33-year-old, injury prone point guard), it would severely limit the amount of money they could throw at anyone else, and would probably have to let some other important pieces on the roster walk.

As they are, the Rockets are pretty good. Who knows, had CP been healthy, they might've been good enough to beat Golden State. But if they let Capela or Ariza leave without acquiring James or George for the sake of keeping CP3? It could prove to be a huge mistake going forward.

No matter what Houston GM Daryl Morey is expecting, this much is clear: in a very important summer of change, the Rockets will have to do a bit of soul-searching if they want to stay on the right track this upcoming season.