In the Age of Morey, the Houston Rockets have always shown an aggressiveness to make changes and never stand pat. Daryl has illustrated time and time again a willingness to make bold moves, whether through headline-grabbing trades or aggregating players valued below replacement to build to something greater.
The Rockets, along with the league as a whole, are now in uncharted territory for the first time in five years. As Rahat wrote, the calculus has indeed changed for the Rockets’ offseason following the devastating back-to-back injuries of Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. The Warriors are no longer favorites to win it all next year, a strange and unfamiliar reality for NBA fans accustomed to the team’s dominance since 2015.
A lot of you pushed back on the above this morning. Allow me to explain. When I say they should “run it back”, I don’t mean they shouldn’t seek to make improvements. I’m essentially commenting on my prior assertion, aggressively made, that the Rockets’ top priority this summer should have been moving Clint Capela for a viable wing option who could actually stay on the floor against the Golden State Warriors. That calculus changes now with the Warriors, for all intents and purposes, out of the picture for next season due to this Klay Thompson injury.
The call to trade Capela wasn’t made on the merits in a vacuum. It was a reaction in relation to his lack of effectiveness against the Rockets’ main perceived threat. Against the rest of the league, Capela is still a positive asset. He’s the reason they dominated Denver, considered a rising threat out West. He’ll be important against Portland and their slow-footed big men. He’s played Joel Embid well, and dominated Rudy Gobert and Karl Anthony Towns in postseason play. The Rockets shouldn’t look to trade him just to trade him.
Now, of course, if they can get a significant upgrade for him in a deal, all bets are off. For instance, one of you asked me if I’d trade Capela and two first round picks for Bradley Beal. I think the Wizards would laugh at that offer, but it would be a no-brainer for the Rockets. So I’m certainly not saying he should be untouchable. They should shop him around and explore the market.
But I no longer think the Rockets have to move him the way they would have had Thompson not gotten hurt.
The Texans fired their GM, Brian Gaine, yesterday. As a franchise, the Texans are kind of a joke. They’ve managed to embarrass the city on national television numerous times and don’t have much to show for their history. They also somehow fell ass backwards into a franchise quarterback and have done next to nothing to protect him.