We’re going to be ok. I went through the first four stages yesterday, and I think talking things out over the podcast really helped as well. This is all going to be ok. Yesterday was a very bad dream and we are going to get through this. Together. We got through the Steve Francis era. We survived The Trevor Ariza era. Oh wait…
You know how when someone has a bad breakup, or is spurned, etc., they get over it by vilifying the other person? Or usually what happens is, the person’s friends start the vilification process for them: “he was a loser anyway, you can do way better!” I’ve begun convincing myself that Bosh never held genuine interest in the Rockets to begin with and was only using them to coax the max out of Miami. Who knows if that’s true, but it has made me feel significantly better. Such are the tactics which must be employed during times of such grief. Understand that for a solid five hours yesterday afternoon, the Houston Rockets had the best starting lineup in basketball. Fifty years from now, tell that to your grandkids. When you tell them about the Matt Bullard-Carlos Rogers-Walt Williams frontline of 2000, the Kelvin Cato “10 block game”, and that Zan Tabak actually went on to be pretty decent, tell them that for five or six glorious hours on July the 11th, the Houston Rockets had the best starting lineup in basketball.
The grey is not me, folks. The grey is not me.
But today is a new day. The Rockets can come out from this with a better team than the one they fielded last year. But time now is of the essence. They have until tomorrow to make use of the cap space cleared in dealing the contracts of Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik. If that window expires without a signing, they can retain Parsons and have access to all of their exceptions, including the sizable midlevel.
There are complex permutations through which Morey can work. He’ll have massive trade exceptions generated from the Asik and Lin trades (though they can’t be combined). He still owns the Pelicans pick. You can bet good money they spent the night working the phones trying to put something together. This can be done, but it will be tough. The time crunch imposed by the Parsons window infinitely complicates matters. I ain’t mad at ya, but really bro, couldn’t you have held off a little bit longer?
Luol Deng doesn’t seem interested. Trevor Ariza at this point might be your best bet. But rather than overpay a marginal talent, I think they’re trying to make use of their space by talking to teams trying to dump big contracts. They can still do this post-Parsons, but then they can only take back the size of each trade exception (in addition to the players dealt), an amount close to half of the near $15 upon which they sit right now. They are scrambling to make use of that space. If you thought Eric Gordon could again be healthy, would you take a flier there? I think the risk ratio there is preferable to the upside of Parsons + the midlevel. Who can you really even get for the midlevel? Paul Pierce won’t come for that amount, I don’t think. And with as much as is made of large trade exceptions, how many examples in history can we think of when they were actually used for profit? I honestly think its better to just take a flier with the space and keep Chandler than to let it burn.
One thing is clear: they have to match on Parsons. The Rockets simply cannot enter next year with their team completely gutted. There’s no one in 2015 worth waiting for and also, we saw how that worked out for us this year. Do you really want to waste another year of Dwight Howard’s prime?*
Of all the options, (do nothing; flier + Parsons; Parsons alone and later use TPE; Parsons + MLE; overpay Ariza + Parsons, etc..), it is my belief that a flier + Parsons represents maximum use of the resources available. Parsons + the MLE is the likeliest. If the team does nothing, letting Parsons walk as well, they might lose their local television deal. Oh wait. Too soon?
A final note, before the actual final note signified by the asterisk next to Howard: A lot of tweets filled my timeline with outrage directed towards Morey. That’s not deserved. I can never blame a man for dreaming big and swinging for the fences. He put us in position to form a juggernaut and has us in position to build a 60 win team. The man had a vision and sometimes those don’t work out. But I can never cast stones at a man who dreams big.
It can be surmised that perhaps he overplayed his hand in the Parsons situation. That is fair-game for second guessing. But this gamble altogether? I can’t blame him.
*Howard: people bring up the Lillard shot, and I’ll be honest, it didn’t really hurt that much. I mean that sincerely. There was shock, a little bit of pain, but that was nowhere near the top on my list of worst sports memories. Why? The team had exhibited so many flaws over the course of that series, primarily due to coaching, that I was convinced they would get trounced by San Antonio in the next round regardless. I saw winning as house money. What hurt though was seeing Dwight Howard. Understand that a Hall of Fame center is the most rarest of breeds in professional sports, maybe only rivaled by a dominant left handed pitcher. When Dwight erased Nic Batum on a drive late in overtime in one of the road games that series, recovering off a switch, the euphoria quickly became despair. How much more do we have of that? Every last one of these years is beyond precious and cannot be wasted. There are those, most of you, in denial, claiming Howard is better than ever. But big men of his type do not age well, at all. It’s a historical fact. What makes the Bosh spurn so, so, so much more painful was that had we pulled it off, it would have represented a very real window in the heart of Howard’s two-year prime. If the team can’t recover for next year, it’s another season lost.
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