I wrote my thoughts on the aftermath of the failed Butler pursuit for Forbes yesterday. So what’s next now for the Rockets? Do they use the same slew of picks to target other options? You’d think they almost have to, when considering they were past the point of hedging on the future the second Chris Paul inked his four-year deal this past summer. The challenge though, as I wrote on my Forbes page, is that few options represent the near panacea which Butler would have been. Kevin Love and the likes would help, but no other player available could have lifted Houston on both sides of the ball in a potential rematch with Golden State the way Butler could have.
Some of you pushed back here stating the team needs to seek internal improvement rather than searching for the white knight. This is where we differ, and perhaps this is reflective of foolishness on my part in still holding out hope on the grander goal. It’s true that the Rockets can return to respectability by just playing up to their individual career expected levels; and its true some incremental moves would help. But at this point, this present manifestation seems so far off from posing a threat to the Warriors that only a deal the magnitude of the proposed Butler trade could get them back to where they thought they were in August. And weren’t the Warriors the only thing that mattered?
And then there’s the news yesterday evening on Anthony, perplexing in its timing, that the team was holding talks with the future Hall of Famer over “how to proceed over his role” or however it was described. It was odd because to date, we had not yet heard anything from Anthony regarding displeasure over his role. And aside from the egg he laid in OKC, he had fared pretty well off the bench. Lazy national media narratives aside, I can’t see any cause for displeasure from the Rockets’ end of things – they were merely looking to replace Ryan Anderson.
It has become clear though that Gary Clark should be getting more minutes and so perhaps that ‘misunderstanding’ is a source. We will likely hear more today.