The Rockets Daily – June 4, 2014

Door #2 - On the eve of the 2014 NBA Finals, still haunted by Damian Lillard every time I close my eyes at night, it’s finally time to come out of hiding and talk some Rockets.

Houston has made the first big personnel move of the not-quite-here-yet offseason by declining the final year of Chandler Parsons’ rookie contract, making him a restricted free agent this summer.

The Rockets hold a $960,000 option on the fourth and final year of Parsons’ contract for the 2014-’15 season, but want to avoid letting Parsons, 25, become an unrestricted free agent next summer. As a restricted free agent in July, the Rockets can match an offer sheet and retain Parsons on a long-term contract.

The Rockets have until June 30 to formally decline the option.       [read more…]

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On the NBA: Rings won in July

It seems unlikely that the Indiana Pacers will return. The Miami Heat killed them last night, did they not? Their assassination came through the Heat’s indifference; Lance Stephenson’s attempts to enter LeBron James’ head were met with a shrug and more excellence. Roy Hibbert has had skill stolen by Nerdlucks once again, he’s a toppling structure surrounded by teeming pros. Any rhetorical effort made toward convincing ourselves the Heat weren’t this much of a shoo-in was clearly for naught.

How has the Eastern Conference gotten to this weak of a point? How can it be possible?

As a new, harsher generation of ownership takes the wings of NBA franchises, perhaps it won’t be this way for much longer. Fans of parity and reasonable Atlantic bedtimes should hope that trigger-happy fundmen like Robert Pera and Joe Lacob sell out their cupboards of talent and send their intelligent front-office men out for new contracts.

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If there’s one takeaway for the Houston Rockets in the weeks since their last game, it’s that it could be so much worse. Losing in spectacular fashion is going to sting, and it’s going to sting for about a year. There are coaching problems and personnel problems and discipline problems. There are good reasons for doubt about Houston’s future, but at least the Rockets don’t have to worry about their owner. It’s increasingly clear that having an owner that does no harm to the franchise is more of a luxury than an expectation, something the Rockets and their fans should be thankful for.

The struggles the Los Angeles Clippers have had regarding their ownership have been both televised and undeniable. There’s nothing to be said about Donald Sterling that hasn’t already been said, so let’s say it again. Recent events kicked off with the public release of a recording of Sterling, a recording in which he was heard not only making overtly racist remarks, but also commenting about a seemingly racist community he was part of. This spurred a tide of anti-sterling sentiment, something that was decades in the making. While his comments were hideous, there was already a litany of reasons to want him out of the NBA.

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Quick heads up, the Houston Rockets have been connected via trade rumors to a major star. This is the fourth time in four summers, and the last two actually went through, so maybe there’s a pattern emerging. After not landing a franchise caliber player in at least nine minutes, Houston’s due for another one, right? That being the case, let’s take a journey down the trade machine rabbit hole, laying out the ways that the Rockets could pick up that next piece.

Target numero uno right now appears to be Kevin Love, the floor spacing power foward that Houston has been (not) secretly pining after for years. He’s big, he’s tall, he shoots threes at a crazy clip and his outlet passes are based on some kind of superpowers that mankind can barely comprehend. There’s only one solution for star players who want out of their current teams: come to Houston! Beards are en vogue in H-town, which should suit Mr. Love just fine.

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Things got interesting this weekend as news broke that the Minnesota Timberwolves would likely need to deal forward Kevin Love prior to his impending free agency.  Y!’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported just yesterday that the Houston Rockets planned to make an aggressive push to acquire the All-Star forward.  We spoke on this page just two weeks ago of this team’s planned pursuit of Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony.  In combination with the increasing availability of Celtics guard Rajon Rondo, it is beginning to look likelier that Houston acquires its third star before the next season begins.

There are several issues of note.  To begin, if it already wasn’t clear enough, this news just about confirms any suspicions as to why Rockets management moved so quickly to retain head coach Kevin McHale after the latter party navigated uncharted waters of incompetence in the team’s first round series loss to the Blazers.  It’s easier to build a cadre of tactically-minded assistants than it is to replace an esteemed figurehead with strong ties around the league.  The Art of (Basketball) War.

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