Daryl Morey gets painted by some as the calculating analytics guy.
In reality, he’s a gambler. It may be a calculated risk — like trading for James Harden with the belief he could be the focal point of the Houston offense, or thinking Chris Paul could play next to him — but Morey is not afraid to pull the trigger on big deals.
After another frustrating loss to the Warriors in the playoffs, and with no cap room to make significant additions to the roster, Morey is being ultra aggressive on the trade market heading into free agency, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Morey, like everyone in the NBA, sees the door to a title potentially swinging open if Kevin Durant leaves Golden State (as most expect). The Rockets’ window would be right now, with Harden at his peak, and Morey wants to take advantage of it.
There is next to zero chance he moves Harden, not in the real world where he could not get equal value back.
Paul, who was still very good but showed signs of age on his game last season, is the guy the Rockets likely want to trade. He certainly has value and could help a lot of teams, he averaged 15.6 points and 8.2 assists per game, is a borderline All-Star level player and remains the best floor general in the game. He’s also owed $124 million over three fully guaranteed seasons after this one, and he just turned 34. Not a lot of GMs will want to take on that contract without a sweetener thrown in.
That’s why Clint Capela — a big who better fits the modern game — is the guy more likely to be on the move.
Morey, however, has to get someone who makes the team better for whomever he trades, and that will not be easy. This is still a Rockets team on the cusp of a title, they are legit contenders. They cannot take a step back.
Houston is just another team to watch in what will be a wild summer in the NBA.