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[Chron] Rockets facing uncertainty

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by JoeBarelyCares, Jun 24, 2012.

  1. JoeBarelyCares

    JoeBarelyCares Contributing Member

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    http://blog.chron.com/ultimaterockets/2012/06/rockets-facing-uncertainty-heading-into-free-agency/

    Rockets facing uncertainty heading into free agency

    Posted on June 23, 2012 at 11:34 pm by Jonathan Feigen

    Before every NBA Finals game could begin, Rudy Tomjanovich had the last word, scolding “non-believers” with his iconic message about the perils of doubting the “Heart of a Champion.”

    The video spoke to the Rockets’ place in NBA history, but amid the grainy footage of Finals past, it offered a reminder that it has been nearly two decades since those champions were assembled.

    As the Rockets begin another offseason further removed from their glory days, facing familiar uncertainty in the shadow of the goal bequeathed to them by the championship teams that began Leslie Alexander’s tenure as Rockets owner, rarely have they faced a more crucial period.

    With a combination of disappointment from three consecutive seasons as the last team to fail to make the playoffs and the opportunity that comes with a remodeled, deal-ready roster, the stretch from Thursday’s draft to February’s trade deadline could define the Rockets for years.

    The Rockets do not agree that the coming months are unusually crucial, arguing that Alexander’s demands that only championship contention will do creates a constant sense of urgency.

    But after years spent trying to build around Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady, they head to their first offseason without the contractual and salary-cap constraints left by the seasons with those signature stars.

    “To me, we’re not on any timetable to getting back to being a championship contender,” general manager Daryl Morey said. “It often takes a much longer time than anybody wants to talk about.

    Moving past Yao

    “We’re trying to find a way that shortens that timetable to do it as quickly as possible in a smart way. We’re using free agency and trades as tools. When you lose two franchise players – we’re really on year two. Last season was the first year we were not betting on Yao being a franchise player.”

    The Rockets have made no secret of their desire to land Yao’s successor as the team’s foundation and thought they had deals in place to acquire Pau Gasol and sign Nene as a free agent to serve that role. A season after NBA commissioner David Stern blocked that deal, and months after the trade-deadline talks for Dwight Howard ended, the search continues, but with tools and flexibility to make that sort of deal possible.

    “That’s what you want,” Morey said. “You want to have good options.”

    They have a large number of young veterans, many in their desirable rookie-scale contracts, cap space and two picks (14 and 16) in the middle of the first round Thursday. Morey will look to change his position in the draft, by moving up or by working to acquire a future pick rather than add two more rookies to the three players (Marcus Morris, Donatas Motiejunas and Chandler Parsons) drafted last season.

    After the Rockets gave up a future first-round pick last season to move up just three spots for Motiejunas, Morey said a significant jump from the 14th pick is preferable.

    Few free agents

    Barring a stunning turn of events to move into the upper echelon of the first round, free agency and trades offer the greater potential to break the three-year stretch of treading water. But free agency offers limited opportunities.

    Only Deron Williams can be considered a max free agent, and he is likely to seek a chance to join an established star.

    The Rockets are not likely to pursue an addition who offers a limited improvement while eating into the cap room they hope can facilitate a trade.

    “For sure we’d make that kind of move as long as it is a move that fits in the context of helping us win and keeps our chances of getting a franchise player,” Morey said. “The latter we’ll never compromise. We’re never going to reduce our chances to keep ourselves in play for a franchise player.”

    He said they also will not make an attention-getting move to improve the image of a team considered without stars.

    Morey said he considers Rockets fans on board with the rebuilding and that Alexander’s interest is only in building a contender. Rockets CEO Tad Brown said he has heard Alexander specifically address that priority.

    “Every decision that drives Leslie’s direction for the organization is how are we going to get better, how are we going to become a championship contender,” Brown said. “That direction comes directly from Leslie. The business side … is designed to support all of the resources possible to put the best team possible on the court.

    “I don’t want to say there is a greater sense of urgency. There is always a sense of urgency. That’s cultural. I think there is a sense of magnified opportunity. We have a good young base of guys to build on. We definitely have that feeling that we need to get back to that championship-contending status. It’s going to continue to drive us. Leslie continues to instill that in everybody.”

    Brown said last season’s dip in attendance does not indicate a growing impatience, arguing it was the result of a lockout-season schedule that removed many of the top teams from the Rockets’ home schedule, eliminating not only those sellouts but their potential to drive partial season-ticket plans.

    Crucial period

    Still, as the draft marks the beginning of another period of rebuilding, the team is at a crossroads, as crucial as when it was rebuilt before and after Moses Malone took the team to the 1981 Finals; when the twin towers team reached the 1986 Finals then imploded with substance-abuse suspensions; and when the championship teams were built around Hakeem Olajuwon.

    Dawson’s take

    “You can kind of tell sometimes when you are in those periods of time,” former general manager Carroll Dawson said. “You could see it in the early ’90s when we put all those shooters around Dream. We thought we got lucky when we got Steve Francis and then Tracy (McGrady) and very lucky when we got Yao. That didn’t happen when the injuries hit us. Now might be one of those times again, but I know we do have the right people. We will get out of it.”

    Morey would not predict a timetable, or say the game-changing move is certain in the coming months. But the chances are better. And after three seasons in neutral, there is a sense they have come to one of those times that changes a franchise’s direction.

    “My optimism doesn’t matter,” Morey said. “We have a plan. We believe in the plan. We’re going to execute it. We believe that at some point we’re going to turn the corner.”

    jonathan.feigen@chron.com
     
  2. coachbadlee

    coachbadlee Member

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    There is no free agent that can help us outside of Dwight and it would take way too much to get him. The draft is the best and only real chance at making something happen. Even if they are not able to move up in the draft, they should still look to get more draft picks than we have currently..
     
  3. True Rocket

    True Rocket Member

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    We needa get Alexander out of there.
     
  4. tonyt8605

    tonyt8605 Member

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    Great read!

    If anything, hopefully this renews the fans' hope and support of the organization.
     
  5. coachbadlee

    coachbadlee Member

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    The Rockets have made 4 different attempts at getting superstars thru trade. Each time that it seemed like the Rockets were the team with the best chance, said star turns away. Like last season when the Rockets were the last team with the best package trade for Howard, what happened? That clown resigns with the Magic.
    Howard: Houston???!! naw. I'd rather go on vacation in two weeks.
     
  6. Raven

    Raven Member

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    Yeah, keep telling yourself that.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    Good to know.

    Are they? Are they really? Are you really rebuilding or are you just shuffling the deck, rearranging it? Are you just collecting players, fit be damned, and hoping to turn them into something bigger/better one day? Is that the plan?

    Heh, heh, heh. Fools.


    Are you just collecting players, fit be damned, and hoping to turn them into something bigger/better one day? Is that the plan?
     
    2 people like this.
  8. tmacfor35

    tmacfor35 Contributing Member

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    This team has all the role players a Championship team needs. One superstar can really put us over the top. Just if one would realize that. We are very similar to the Chicago Bulls are right now, we just lack a Derick Rose. We need to trade for a top 8 pick and swing for the fences.
     
  9. GATER

    GATER Contributing Member

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    How so? The Rockets' management states in the article...

    Morey: "........ Last season was the first year we were not betting on Yao being a franchise player.”

    Morey "I don’t want to say there is a greater sense of urgency. There is always a sense of urgency. ...".

    Morey said he considers Rockets fans on board with the rebuilding and that Alexander’s interest is only in building a contender. ....

    Brown said last season’s dip in attendance does not indicate a growing impatience, arguing it was the result of a lockout-season schedule that removed many of the top teams from the Rockets’ home schedule.


    Last season the first without Yao? This season was the first of rebuilding? The fans are on board with the timetable?

    Rockets' management will play these cards in the media as long they think they can get away with it.

    In a league where teams bound up and down dramatically in the rankings, the (Morey) Rockets are committed to slow and steady. There's a reason the Rockets have spent the 20th least additional payroll over the past 5 seasons.

    http://hoopshype.com/general_manager.htm

    No risk...no reward. Little risk...little reward.
     
    #9 GATER, Jun 24, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  10. Yung-T

    Yung-T Member

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    If we give up one pick in this year's draft for a future pick Imma be disappointed as hell.
     
  11. dobro1229

    dobro1229 Contributing Member

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    To be fair to Morey and Brown, those were loaded questions.

    "Do you think the fans agree with your plan for rebuilding?"

    -Come on now. Feigan knows the answer to that one, but what does he expect Morey to say- "No, I think our fans hate me, and those armchair GM's think their plan to lose games on purpose is a better solution"???

    Does Morey live on another planet, No. He has twitter, and he purposefully or unporposefully hears it. He knows the kind of backlash he and Les are getting right now from the diehards in Houston. Do you think he enjoys this?

    Or here is another question... Do you think the Rockets front office should care so much about their image among the small amount of diehard fans and the disgruntled Bill Ingram/DD types that they completely alter their plans to succumb to their every wish?

    What would that say about their resolve and backbone? Are they really in year 2? Thats debateable, but Morey has all but said pretty bluntly that they are trying to rebuild in alot of different ways, but he is not allowed to try and fix games to lose right now so the fans are just going to have to live with us going in every other direction to try and build a team ASAP.
     
  12. caneks

    caneks Rookie

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    That is bull, did not we spend more on the salary for Dalembert and Camby before the end of this past season than Yao 2 years ago? And yao had been injuried for a million of years before his retirement.

    no more excuses.
     
  13. Kam

    Kam Contributing Member

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    There was no Miami I could fleece my tickets to. LA only showed up once. Dallas fan boys could only come here once. The Knicks came here BEFORE Linsanity.
     
  14. dobro1229

    dobro1229 Contributing Member

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    The Rockets are already having trouble getting all of their young players the proper playing time needed to develop. With Donatas Motiejunas already coming over its already going to be a logjam for minutes at almost every position. Taking a player who wont be able to play is pretty much a wasted pick.

    Or you can trade for a 2013 or 2014 pick with say top 5 protection and then you create something else entirely... a great trade asset in a year or two or the potential to get a higher draft pick yourself.

    Or you can just be upset that they didnt draft someone like Moe Harkless because apparently he's going to be the next great superstar for the Rockets.
     
  15. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    CD may have been a *****ty GM [I don't beleive he was bad but just sarcastically point out what folx around here say]
    but . . . he managed to close some deals
    Snottie Quitten
    Francis
    TMac

    Rocket River
     
  16. ThaShark316_28

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    Pippen and T-Mac wanted to be here thanks to having stars already here......

    Y'all gotta remember T-Mac's wishlist in 2004: Indiana, Phoenix and Houston. All with young bigs who were looked at as soon to be all-stars.
     
  17. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    How many times have our name shown up since
    If not why not?
    IF so what happened with that?

    Darryl is 100% teflon. Beyond criticism. honestly hoard chips is getting tiring
    Sometime you have to cash them MFers in!!

    Rocket River
     
  18. JD88

    JD88 Member

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    Give up both picks this year for a high one next year, let the old guys contracts expire, and shoot for a big time free agent next year when there are plenty of high caliber players available.
     
  19. ThaShark316_28

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    Nah, not 100%. It's moves I wish he didn't make/should have made.

    What happened is 2009, in my book. It's been hell since McGrady's surgery, Yao's foot, etc.
     
  20. UTAllTheWay

    UTAllTheWay Member

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    3 times...

    Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, and Nene

    He closed the deal on Ron Artest and had the deal done for Pau Gasol, but Stern screwed that up.... which destroyed the chance this team had at Nene.
     
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