Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has made his entire roster and future draft picks available in trade talks, a dramatic initiative with hopes of reshaping the team into a championship contender, league sources told ESPN.
I know many of you won’t like this, but this is perfectly fair, particularly coming from a guy who voted for Harden for MVP. There are certain characteristics of James Harden’s that are less than desirable and this is one of them. I first noticed this in a playoff game vs. Portland when the Rockets fed Dwight Howard in the post on every possession. Weirdly, Harden kept himself completely uninvolved for a stretch of a few minutes. I remember thinking it was absolutely bizarre at the time.
Understandably, Chris Paul would be upset over this. Paul’s game, especially now, is predicated upon getting other guys involved. He can’t do that effectively when playing 4 on 5. But I don’t think this means Paul has to go this offseason. Guys get into it all the time. Unless this is something that had been festering and finally boiled over.
This doesn’t mean that Harden is fatally flawed or irredeemable. Remember Kobe refusing to shoot for an entire half? But he has certain traits that you have to be mindful of. Its worthwhile baggage for having one of the greatest offensive players in the world. I don’t know that he’s suddenly going to start slashing off the ball when he doesn’t have it. You just have to put together a team around him that can hold its own on those plays he decides to take off.
The overhaul of the Rockets coaching staff took several additional deep cuts on Friday, with the Rockets letting four more staff members know they would not be back next season.
Rockets assistant coach Roy Rogers will not receive a new contract for next season, his agent Warren LeGarie said on Friday, making Rogers the second top assistant on Mike D’Antoni’s staff for the past three seasons that will not be offered a new contract.
This has been surprising news over the last day or so from an organization typically regarded as rational by outsiders. Rumors have swirled, but nothing firm has been corroborated regarding whether the shakeup has come at the behest of general manager Daryl Morey or team owner Tilman Fertitta.
The moves are odd because despite failing to adjust to Golden State’s changed personnel in the semifinals–a task far easier stated than done–Houston largely righted the ship on the defensive end in the second half of the season after solidifying a rotation that didn’t include Carmelo Anthony. They were second in defensive rating after the All-Star break.
Mike D’Antoni appears to be safe for now, having expressed interest in remaining with the team long-term, with Morey uhh…sort of giving a vote of confidence. To be sure, I blamed D’Antoni for the Game 6 loss, particularly for his unwillingness to bench center Clint Capela despite the raw data indicating he was absolutely killing his team. But I don’t think he should lose his job over the failure. Not after getting this close.
Smear it as defeatism as some of you will, or cite to it as further evidence that we Houstonians are just bred without a thirst for winning, as Scottie Pippen ironically suggested earlier in the month. I just think there’s something to organizational stability, particularly when all tiers of an organization (GM, coach, star) are on the same page. Except this shakeup might indicate otherwise.
Red94 is a blog about the NBA's Houston Rockets. It was created in 2009 by Rahat Huq and inducted into ESPN.com's TrueHoop Network that same year. Follow @redninetyfour on Twitter for all new post updates.