The Houston Rockets could look significantly different next season. We already know there has been drama around the lack of an extension for head coach Mike D’Antoni. Rumors surfaced that the team was willing to part with everyone outside of James Harden, and now we have some names that could be on their way out of Texas.
According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, Houston is internally assuming that they will be without at least one of their most prominent role players next year.
Via The New York Times:
The Rockets are indeed shopping everyone on the roster not named Harden. The complexities involved in moving Chris Paul, who at age 34 has three years and nearly $125 million left on his contract, have Houston officials actively exploring the trade market for Clint Capela, Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker.
As one source with knowledge of the team’s thinking said, they are operating under the belief that at least one of those three mainstays will not be a Rocket next season.
It’s not clear whether the Rockets view these players as potential sweeteners to get rid of Chris Paul’s contract, or if they think it’s simply time for a change.
What summer of 2019 was already slated to be wild with an excellent free agent class coming up, but if the second-best team in the Western Conference is trying to drastically reshape its roster, we might need to alter our expectation for what “wild” can be this July.
Capella, Gordon, and Tucker were some of the best role players this season in the NBA, with Houston’s wings being of particular note. There’s no way the Rockets could find their way to the second round against the Golden State Warriors without the defense of Tucker, and Gordon’s shooting was crucial all season long next to Harden.
Don’t put it past Daryl Morey to take drastic measures to rebuild quickly around Harden. The Rockets look hamstrung from a salary cap perspective right now, but if there is somebody who can pull a rabbit out of the hat by taking a big risk on paper, it’s the Houston general manager.