The Houston Rockets had one of the more formidable rosters coming into the NBA offseason. In many ways optimism among the franchise was justified. The team’s two superstars James Harden and Dwight Howard produced night in and night out. The Rockets won 54 games and sat comfortably in the West and finished as the fourth seed in the highly competitive conference. The Rockets sought to explore options that would provide them with the necessary salary cap flexibility in order to sign another star free agent. In hopes of forming a new Big Three in Texas, the Rockets took aim in free agency at Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Carmelo Anthony. However, a multitude of front office miscues by the Houston Rockets have led to what many view as a disappointing offseason.
Never Appearing to be in the race LeBron James.
Before LeBron James decided to take his talents back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, there never appeared to be much of a fight for the World’s Best Player from the Rockets. James just finished appearing in four straight NBA finals and winning two with the Miami Heat. His close friends and teammates are undoubtedly perennial All-Stars and top end talents in Bosh and Wade. However, LeBron managed to accomplish this feat while he grabbed multiple NBA Finals and regular season MVP awards , with Wade spending much of his games injured and hobbling on bad knees. Bosh floated further and further away from the rim and served primarily as a spot up shooter. James addresses the Rockets need for another distributor. If James Harden’s efficiency dips to sub 45 percent shooting again, contention may be an issue for Houston. While Dwight Howard is still not quite Tim Duncan on the low block James’ passing, court vision, transition play, and penetration could have helped Howard see a lot of lobs and easy baskets.
Failing to land Carmelo Anthony
Before Anthony “ruled out” the Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets to re-sign with the New York Knicks, he visited Houston. The Rockets were looking to add a third star and while many have questioned Anthony’s leadership skills , few seem to question his ability to potentially win with a pair superstars in their prime. Anthony may not have offered the same level of improvement as LeBron but he would instantly alleviate scoring pressure from Harden. Anthony’s addition could have also stretched the floor for Dwight Howard, who was consistently doubled despite good three-point shooting from the Rockets. Even the lottery picking Los Angles Lakers managed to become a “serious threat” to the Knicks plans to re-sign Anthony. The forward never uttered a positive whisper about his experience with the Houston Rockets front office. This led to critics wondering what front office miscues caused the Houston Rockets to have such a disappointing offseason.
Signing Trevor Ariza instead of paying Chandler Parsons, after Bosh decided to stay Miami.
Many reports had Houston signing Chris Bosh for a near max five-year $118 million deal. While some feel Bosh is not worth the money the All Star may have been the most realistic catch for the Houston Rockets. Bosh is a Texas native and joining forces with James Harden and Chris Bosh is not the worst scenario to be in after winning with LeBron and Wade. However, when Bosh elected to stay in Miami and remain an “alpha dog,” the Rockets suddenly decided they no longer wanted the services do their third beat player. Parsons three-year $46 million contract may not have been cheap, but it certainly would have kept the Rockets with the same depth or at the very least a tradable asset. Former teammate James Harden almost walked out of OKC before the Thunder traded him for Kevin Martin. At the time Harden was still more of a playmaker and role player alongside the dynamic duo Westbrook and Kevin Durant. The Thunder have yet to replace Harden’s role and there is no telling what he may have developed into for the his former team..
Trevor Ariza enjoyed a good season, the veteran averaged 14 ppg and 6 rpg. Nonetheless, looking at Parson’s potential at just 25-year-old, Ariza’s serviceable skill set does not compare with the efficient 16 points 5 rebounds and 4 assists Parsons averaged. In yet another front office miscue the Houston Rockets managed to continue their disappointing offseason. Coming up empty-handed on every big free agent has left fans dismayed. The silver lining for Houston is that adequate cap room and two major stars on its roster, the team’s future is far from bleak.
Commentary by Brandon Wright