So Yahoo! Sports confirmed the worst kept secret in Rockets basketball: the reality that Rick Adelman most probably will not be asked to return. They cite the HOFer’s unwillingness to “play their young players and embrace their creativity in the free-agent market,” (quotations emphasized for my personal befuddlement) as reason for the inevitable fall-out.
This is curious though I am torn overall with my feelings. First, I’m not even sure what ‘creativity in the free-agent market’ is supposed to mean. My only guess would be, and come to think of it, this would make sense, that Rick grew wary of the club’s policy of not extending players and allowing the market to dictate price. You can see how this might frustrate a coach; the Aaron Brooks situation certainly would not have turned so ugly had the point guard been extended. Having said that, were this truly a cause, I side with Morey: flexibility in the market should be top consideration for a non-contender hoping to rebuild its ways. The last thing this organization needs is to tie itself down with bad contracts (see: the Dawson era) in some hope for ‘stability.’
Not giving young players their due is equally obscure. I find it hard to believe that Alexander would fire Rick Adelman over an unwillingness to play two complete knuckleheads in Jordan Hill and Terrence Williams, though stranger things have happened (see: the Van Gundy firing), especially in light of the buffet of minutes Patrick Patterson enjoyed. The former pair simply did not ‘get it’; was the coach to just bestow them the minutes? It’s confusing. I certainly would have liked to have seen Williams more–I have been advocating that strongly since the trade–but his benching makes complete sense and comes as shocking as some rationale behind a high-profile firing.
This appears to be yet another case of cognitive dissonance. It appears that again, like in 2006, Alexander believes his team should be better than it is. I don’t know how any coach could have squeezed more wins from this outfit than did Adelman this season, or kept this club inspired after such a demoralizing funk. But for better or worse, it appears the decision has been made.
The gnawing downside to this is that it undoes all of the momentum built over the course of this past half-season. With yet again no stars, and really no major trade chips, the hope entering next season was at least that perhaps the team could build on its late season success and sustain it over 82-game elongation. With a likely new philosophy, offense, and rotation, that is now all gone. The team is once again reduced to a collection of well-priced assets boasting favorable qualities. As before, the assets are again no longer a ‘team.’
It may not all be bad. A coach on board with Morey might be more inclined to utilize the wealth of data passed down from the computers. This is certainly more efficient business management. It would also make sense if trades could be made with the guarantee of opportunity; debacles like the Terrence Williams case would not have occurred. Daryl Morey is this organization’s best asset – this point is really not in question. An extension of his methods would have obvious benefits and would serve as quite the experiment. Like the rest of the Rockets’ decisions, we will simply have to wait and see.
‘Huq’s Pen’ is a column of musings by Red94 founder/editor, Rahat Huq.