Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey — who just got his contract extended — has big and bold plans in Houston. With James Harden running Mike D’Antoni’s offense the Rockets made a leap up to the NBA’s second tier last season (despite a playoff thud). They have solid starters and a good bench, even if they just largely stand pat this summer.
Morey wants to move up to the top tier. The problem is, that will require more elite talent that fits the system, and the Rockets only have about $10 million in cap space. We told you that Patrick Beverley was available (he “only” makes $5.5 million next year), but it is much broader than that reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
Daryl Morey loves to go big game hunting in free agency, and those are some of the biggest names on the market. We can debate how well Kyle Lowry or Blake Griffin would fit in the D’Antoni system, but they would be a talent upgrade and could work. The challenge is money, every one of those are max contract guys.
Lou Williams will make $7 million next season, so even moving him and Beverley is not enough to land a Chris Paul or Paul Millsap. Moving Ryan Anderson ($19.6 million) or Eric Gordon ($12.9 million) helps much more, but also stings a little more after the seasons they had. It would take a big series of moves from the Rockets to make this happen.
Utah could be one trade partner, they have salary cap space.
Can Morey pull it off? After the way this off-season has started, I no longer question anything. It may not be likely, but it certainly is possible. And Morey is one guy I wouldn’t bet against.