Rockets GM Daryl Morey is looking to rebuild the team and bring in new players to help get James Harden over the hump, which means possibly the Houston Rockets trading All-Star point guard Chris Paul.
The Houston Rockets were eliminated from the NBA playoffs by the Golden State Warriors the last two seasons. It’s obvious that Harden needs help, but Morey does not think the current squad can help him reach the NBA Finals.
The Rockets traded for Harden seven season ago. Harden had his best season as a pro this year. Due to a rash of inures, the Rockets relied on Harden to generate a significant amount of offense. Harden unleashed a scoring streak that rivaled Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlin. After a blitz of 30-plus scoring games, Harden cooled off as his teammates returned from injury.
Harden led the NBA in scoring with 36.1 points per game. He finished seventh overall in assists with 7.5 assists per game.
Harden averaged only 31.6 points per game in the postseason this year.
Busted by the Warriors… Again
The Rockets looked like they were giving the Golden State Warriors a run for their money in the Western Conference Semifinals. However, the Rockets were unable to take advantage of the Warriors when Kevin Durant went down with a calf injury in Game 5. The Warriors rallied to win that game and held on to win Game 6 in Houston to advance to the Western Finals.
Harden and the Rockets were eliminated by the Warriors for the fourth time in the last five season.
The Rockets went all the way to the Western Conference Finals last year, but they could stop Kevin Durant and Steph Curry. Morey thought adding Carmelo Anthony would provide a much-need scoring boost off the bench.
Pretty much everyone around basketball thought adding Melo was a bad idea because Melo did not play defense and was a poor spot-up shooter, especially from long range. The Rockets thought Melo’s close friendship with CP3 and Harden would help him morph into more of a team player. Alas, that never happened and the Rockets pulled the plug on the Melo experiment ten games into the season.
Without Melo or a consistent third scorer, the Rockets were picked off in the semifinals.
CP3 on the Block
After the semifinals ended, word got out that Chris Paul and James Harden had a couple of blow ups over the distribution of the ball. Paul thought the team (i.e. Harden) should have passed more, while Harden felt he should have gotten the ball even more.
Paul, 34, looked like a shadow of his former self this past season. He averaged 15.6 points in the regular season, which is a few points off his career totals. His age and wear and tear caught up to him by the time the playoffs rolled around. After a tepid performance in the playoffs, Morey is shopping Paul. But who would be desperate to take on a hefty contract ($124 million over the next three seasons) of a player who is in the twilight of his career?
The LA Lakers could be a suitor, especially if they are unable to land a big-time free agent this summer. The Lakers have become a circus over the last season between Magic Johnson abruptly quitting and the Lakers quitting on LeBron James in the wake of the Anthony Davis trade fiasco that never happened. James and Paul are tight friends, so it seems like the Lakers would be an obvious choice if no one else is interested.
Meanwhile, Morey is also shopping his draft picks and center Clint Capela. Despite a thumb injury, Capela averaged 16.6 points and 12.7 rebounds with a 23.84 PER.