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We’ve Only Just Begun

The curtain has finally closed on the strangest, most exciting Houston Rockets season in years. All the games have been played, all the scores tallied. The Rockets weren’t able to pull off a historic upset of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round, losing at home in a wild game six. They might not have broken out of the first round of the playoffs, but they broke out of the three year funk they had been mired in. This season might be over for Houston, but this team is just getting started.

Every longtime Rockets diehard and newly minted fan watched with sorrow as the Thunder turned the Tables on the Rockets in the fourth quarter of game six. The Thunder grabbed not just a win, but the right to leave the first round of the NBA playoffs and face off against the Memphis Grizzlies, Houston’s Southwest Division rival, leaving Houston to tidy up the Toyota Center. Just like 29 other teams, the Rockets’ season ended on a loss, and nobody can argue that’s an enjoyable finale. A double digit lead evaporated into a double digit deficit in just a few scant minutes, slamming the door in the face of a near-historic run by the Rockets.

But now that the dust has cleared and the second round is upon the 8 teams left standing, The Rockets and their followers have a chance to take a deep breath and look at what lies ahead. With all expectations surpassed, all predictions shattered and a great many heads turned, this isn’t an ending for Houston. The Rockets have only closed the prologue of what promises to be a long and exciting story for this new era of the franchise.

As the playoffs continue in the coming weeks, Houston transitions into the second most exciting time of the year for this team: free agency. Somehow, despite being in every trade and signing conversation last summer, despite actually pulling off the biggest trades of both the off season and the trade deadline, the Rockets are still in position to have their most important free agency period in years. While it may simply be posturing and pretense, players like Dwight Howard have changed their tune on Houston, now citing it as a prime location, while previously avoiding the city at all costs. With New York, Los Angeles, and Miami sporting five teams overflowing with team salary, the markets that free agents flock to are unavailable. The two biggest markets with room to spare are both in Texas, and for the first time in ages, Houston actually looks closer to a championship than Dallas.

Of course, having James Harden, dream team 2012 member doesn’t hurt either. He’s openly stated that he’s going to be stumping for Houston this summer, and it won’t be surprising if someone listens. The Lakers and Clippers sport the two biggest names on the market this summer in Dwight Howard and Chris Paul respectively. Neither team performed any better than the Rockets did, both losing out convincingly in the first round of the playoffs. While the chances (and money) suggest that both will remain with their teams, seeing Harden, Parsons, Lin, Aşık and (impressively) Beverley push the Thunder can only help Houston’s case.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey finally has that first star in Harden, and it’s only going to make him more bold. Don’t be surprised to see a blockbuster signing or a blockbuster trade bring a big name to Harden’s side. And even after any giant transactions, this is the time of year when Morey rewards the hardcore hoopheads with endless small, smart trades. Morey’s penchant for bench tweaks and savvy drafting should provide intrigue over a long, hot summer. Don’t cry for any fan favorite players Houston might lose; Rockets management always finds a way to bring in a new unsung hero to the fold.

And once the sawdust and debris are cleared out this summer, there will be an even newer, even better Rockets team ready to take the stage in coming years. With no moves at all, this team and its young core can only improve, and Houston won’t make any moves that won’t improve the team. The Rockets are ahead of schedule, and ready to start shooting for the stars immediately. The Thunder didn’t end the Rockets in game 6. They just gave them an opportunity to really get started.

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Total comments: 20
  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    while I love the way morey has positioned us this off season.....there is much work to do. this is my plan for the summer.I know most here don't believe we have a chance to lure D-12 away from LA...........I do. I hear a lot of the media talking about how D-12 should stay and how no one can resist LA, but I don't hear D-12. morey will have his shot to convince D-12 what a great fit Houston is. I think D-12 is unhappy in LA. he doesn't like the coach or the system he runs.... has been off and on feuding with both kobe and nash and must realize the lakers are old and washed up. what kobe will come back as may not look like the kobe of old. even if he stays it will be at least 3 years b4 they are in position to contend even if they catch a couple of lucky breaks. we are young with pieces already in place. he can contend startingnext year.........that's our argument. once the lakers realize D-12 will sign with us and they will get nothing :rolleyes:we can do a sign and trade with them and ship lin to LA. that gets us under the cap without having to loose anything. then ship t-rob and Garcia to the clippers for Bledsoe after they sign cp3. as a fall back plan we could always pickup calderon. that leaves us looking like this

    PG: Bledsoe(calderon)/ bev

    SG: harden/ Anderson

    SF: parsons/delfino

    PF: t-jones/ d-mo/ smith

    C: D-12/ asik

    you think it can"t happen? ...........remember you heard it hear first

    revised season plan :lol: morey is so unpredictable........we let Garcia walk today so the trade with the clippers must be revised to include t-rob and delfino/brooks. Garcia's contract demanded a decision be made b4 FA starts. if the rockets still had him on the roster july 1 (date FA starts) his contract becomes guaranteed. the rockets couldn't risk that. so his release makes good business sense. the least amount of money/contracts we need to move in a D-12 signing the better. since both brooks and delfino's contracts are unguaranteed and add up to 5.5 mil next year they may both become casualties of needing more room to sign D-12. that still leaves us about 3 mil short..........this puts t-rob in danger. his contract is a little over 3mil and he is a good trade chip even tho I still believe j-lin will be used in the D-12 transaction. after we sign D-12 we can always use the mid level exemption to bring some of these player back if we keep j-lin

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    Are there actual rumors that he is talking to Dallas or is that something you are thinking yourself--either way it is interesting. I don't know who is going to play defense (besides Shawn Marion's reputation), but they'll score in bunches.

    just my feelings. dallas had Kaman this year, but were disappointed in his play so they will be looking for a center this summer.....besides Kaman was only signed for 1 year. if they fail on howard (most likely) Jefferson will probably be plan B

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    Are there actual rumors that he is talking to Dallas or is that something you are thinking yourself--either way it is interesting. I don't know who is going to play defense (besides Shawn Marion's reputation), but they'll score in bunches.

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    Agree with that....Utah isn't getting a starting PG for free and they draft too high to hope to find one that way. They are getting desperate and just might bite on Jordan and hope to trade him away for something else sooner than later. It's a stretch, but it's possible. As for LA, they want a change at center and Jefferson is about as close to the opposite of Jordan as you can get....I think he'd fit in well in LA. I know they have money issues, but if Jefferson signs for at, or around, what Jordan made they won't be any worse off then they were before.

    agree Jefferson fits nice with the clippers, but them getting him is a whole different ballgame. I see Jefferson more than likely in dallas next to dirk. I think Utah will more than likely try to move up in the draft to get a point guard and keep mo William around another year to help for awhile. I expect Utah to try to bring milsap back and let Jefferson walk. sure they will try to get something in sign and trade, but if Jefferson is talking to dallas that hope will dry up like water in the dessert.

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    Agree with that....Utah isn't getting a starting PG for free and they draft too high to hope to find one that way. They are getting desperate and just might bite on Jordan and hope to trade him away for something else sooner than later. It's a stretch, but it's possible. As for LA, they want a change at center and Jefferson is about as close to the opposite of Jordan as you can get....I think he'd fit in well in LA. I know they have money issues, but if Jefferson signs for at, or around, what Jordan made they won't be any worse off then they were before.

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    Depending on what Jefferson signs for, the trade above might make sense. It clears Jordan's contract off the books while adding young and athletic Jeremy Evans on a cheap contract. It also gives them a solid offensive presence in the post beside Blake Griffin. I like the trade. Utah gets a PG and elite athleticism at center to pair with Favors and Kanter. They'll have to replace Evans at SF, but maybe they can sign+trade with Millsap for that piece?

    I disagree.........Utah isn't going to take on Jordan's contract for backup purposes...he makes to much. kanter is their guy at center and favors at PF. they would love Bledsoe, but that's a high price. the clippers don't want more salary. they already have to sign cp3. they are more than likely looking for someone to dump Jordan's contract on for sure and may very well use Bledsoe to do it, but getting value back while convincing another team to absorb salary this summer will be a tall task considering this is the year the new CBA rules kick in.

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    true......butare the clipperswilling to take on more salary......unlikely. they are looking for good cheap options......more than likely draft picks and low money prospects

    Depending on what Jefferson signs for, the trade above might make sense. It clears Jordan's contract off the books while adding young and athletic Jeremy Evans on a cheap contract. It also gives them a solid offensive presence in the post beside Blake Griffin. I like the trade. Utah gets a PG and elite athleticism at center to pair with Favors and Kanter. They'll have to replace Evans at SF, but maybe they can sign+trade with Millsap for that piece?

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    utah has jefferson and milsap to sign/trade and favors,hayward,burk and kanter to trade.

    true......butare the clipperswilling to take on more salary......unlikely. they are looking for good cheap options......more than likely draft picks and low money prospects

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    How about Jeremy Evans + Al Jefferson (re-signed) for Bledsoe and D. Jordan? Both teams fill holes and add depth...

  • sircharles says 1 YEAR ago

    I don't agree......dallas is probably our biggest competition to acquire him and what do they have to trade? Utah may make a run.....but what do they have to trade?

    utah has jefferson and milsap to sign/trade and favors,hayward,burk and kanter to trade.

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    Dallas doesn't have much to offer....Vince Carter and picks? Carter does give them an upgrade over Caron Butler at SF, IMO, but not very much.

    Maybe you're right....a lot of teams are set at PG....do we have any draft picks that we can send over in trade or are they still tied up? I think they will definitely want a first rounder in the deal.

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    Nah man, I think somebody is going to pay through the nose for Bledsoe. I bet a lot of people think he can be Westbrook-Lite.

    I don't agree......dallas is probably our biggest competition to acquire him and what do they have to trade? Utah may make a run.....but what do they have to trade?

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    I think it works for the clippers because Garcia gives them another very good wing and t-rob a good prospect.......I kinda thought I was giving a little to much :lol:

    Nah man, I think somebody is going to pay through the nose for Bledsoe. I bet a lot of people think he can be Westbrook-Lite.

  • bboley24 says 1 YEAR ago

    "apparent" prospect.

  • Steven says 1 YEAR ago Garcia can't be traded. Something to do with his contract and his option.
  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    This would be stellar, but does anyone think the Clips won't get a better offer than T-Rob/garcia for Bledsoe? If we can get Bledsoe for that then we HAVE to do it because that is robbery.

    I think it works for the clippers because Garcia gives them another very good wing and t-rob a good prospect.......I kinda thought I was giving a little to much :lol:

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    This would be stellar, but does anyone think the Clips won't get a better offer than T-Rob/garcia for Bledsoe? If we can get Bledsoe for that then we HAVE to do it because that is robbery.

  • pharmag says 1 YEAR ago

    The prospect of adding D12 is so interesting. However, I think before we just relegate Asik back to the bench, a look should be taken with D12 at PF position. He was projected as a PF coming out of HS and apparently used to have a pretty good jumper. Not saying he needs to step out and take a ton of jumper, but if he can be a threat from about 15 ft, then the D12/Asik front line would be a beast. Then you could run line-ups like this (following the moves RBF mentioned):

    PG Bledsoe (Calderon)/Bev

    SG Harden/Anderson

    SF Parsons/Delfino

    PF D-12/T-Jones/Dmo

    C Asik/Smith

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    while I love the way morey has positioned us this off season.....there is much work to do. this is my plan for the summer.I know most here don't believe we have a chance to lure D-12 away from LA...........I do. I hear a lot of the media talking about how D-12 should stay and how no one can resist LA, but I don't hear D-12. morey will have his shot to convince D-12 what a great fit Houston is. I think D-12 is unhappy in LA. he doesn't like the coach or the system he runs.... has been off and on feuding with both kobe and nash and must realize the lakers are old and washed up. what kobe will come back as may not look like the kobe of old. even if he stays it will be at least 3 years b4 they are in position to contend even if they catch a couple of lucky breaks. we are young with pieces already in place. he can contend startingnext year.........that's our argument. once the lakers realize D-12 will sign with us and they will get nothing :rolleyes:we can do a sign and trade with them and ship lin to LA. that gets us under the cap without having to loose anything. then ship t-rob and Garcia to the clippers for Bledsoe after they sign cp3. as a fall back plan we could always pickup calderon. that leaves us looking like this

    PG: Bledsoe(calderon)/ bev

    SG: harden/ Anderson

    SF: parsons/delfino

    PF: t-jones/ d-mo/ smith

    C: D-12/ asik

    you think it can"t happen? ...........remember you heard it hear first

  • goRockets says 1 YEAR ago

    I know Rockets really wanted to avoid playing OKC in the first round, but perhaps having played them was the best thing that could have happened for this team. Going against the best in the west and taking them to 6 games in a pretty competitive series gave the Rockets a ton of confidence. Going forward, I think this team now believes they can beat anyone, and they are still so young, sky is the limit!

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