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CHRONICLE: Rockets collect themselves after Blow

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by barbourdg, Aug 3, 2001.

  1. barbourdg

    barbourdg Contributing Member

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    MY READ ON THIS IS that the Rockets took the trade exemption, knowing they would not be able to use it!!! Whats up with that?

    Olajuwon looks forward to helping Raptors

    By JONATHAN FEIGEN
    Copyright 2001 Houston Chronicle
    ROBERTSON
    ยท Let's toast, rather than roast, Hakeem's exit
    For more than a month, Carroll Dawson knew just how he would spend his day. He had to know. He had spent most of the nights tossing and turning and plotting the next day's chase of Hakeem Olajuwon.
    The Rockets general manager spent Thursday honoring Olajuwon's request to move on, hammering out the details of the sign-and-trade arrangement that sent Olajuwon to the Toronto Raptors for a couple of nothing-special draft picks and a trade exception the Rockets will never use.
    While the Rockets moved on, Olajuwon described himself as moving back, back not only to the championship-caliber talent he had with the Rockets, but even to his college glory days with the talent-loaded Houston Cougars.
    "It's going to be wonderful playing with Vince (Carter)," Olajuwon said. "It's like college and Phi Slama Jama. We're going to dunk on people. It's going to be fun playing alongside Carter. I know I can help him tremendously. I can help make the game easier for him.
    "I'm not trying to be the man. It was never a question of trying to be the man. My position is so important to a team. I'm not coming to Toronto to be the man. I want to get a legitimate chance to win. That was the goal."
    Olajuwon said there were no hard feelings with the Rockets, that he felt there had been mutual respect, that the negotiations themselves did not lead to the breakup and that the parting was "beautiful."
    "It was very difficult," Olajuwon said of leaving. "I've been in Houston 22 years, so myself leaving Houston was very difficult.
    "I don't want this to be more ill feelings. It's a change. It came to an end. And it was a beautiful end. They wanted me to stay. I wanted to stay. At the same time, I wanted a change."
    The Rockets, having made keeping last season's nucleus together their priority, did not want a change and were not prepared to deal with it.
    When Dawson and the Rockets' basketball staff begin life after Olajuwon today, they will start by trying to figure out where to turn next.
    "That's the thing that starts right now," Dawson said. "All of our energy and everything we've done has been put into (signing Olajuwon). We haven't done a lot of preparations for other things. Now that has to start.
    "This was our major concern, our No. 1 priority. Now that has passed, we have to get on to other business. We have other people to sign. That will start tomorrow.
    "I thought we'd get him back."
    The Rockets will move quickly toward signing their own remaining free agents. Signs look good, Dawson said, that deals could be reached relatively smoothly to bring back Maurice Taylor, Shandon Anderson and Moochie Norris. From there, the Rockets could try to bring back Matt Bullard and Sean Colson.
    "Shandon, Mo, Moochie, all the guys said they like it here and want to be here," Dawson said. "But you still have to work out all the details."
    None, however, will replace Olajuwon. And it increasingly appears the Rockets might not have anywhere to turn to find reinforcements for the middle Olajuwon vacated.
    The trade itself did not offer much help. The Rockets will receive a first- and second-round draft pick. The first-rounder will likely come next summer, that the Raptors are not in the lottery up to seven years. If nothing else, it could soften the blow of giving up the first-rounder the Rockets owe the Memphis Grizzlies.
    The $5.1 million trade exception will be lost as soon as the Rockets move that far under the salary cap and use that space, a move they plan to make to sign Taylor and Anderson. With Olajuwon gone, that will only take renouncing the rights they still hold to everyone from Charles Barkley to Devin Gray and Carlos Rogers.
    The Rockets acquired the exception only as a way for the Raptors to give Olajuwon a slightly richer contract, beginning at $5.1 million next season, rather than $4.58 million, and worth $16.7 million over three years.
    "That was the request they made of us," Dawson said. "When it was evident we couldn't get Dream back here, we were willing to help."
    But besides not getting much help from the Raptors, there does not seem to be much help available.
    The Rockets will jump into evaluations of Warriors free agent center Marc Jackson, who has expressed an interest in joining the Rockets.
    Jackson would provide a physical, 6-10, 275-pound presence with a ferocity they could use. But he could be a pricey move after just one, injury-shortened season and valuable as a complement to Kelvin Cato and Jason Collier. If unable to be the answer in the middle, the Rockets could be more likely to save minutes at center to ease their sudden glut at power forward, having liked the results of playing Taylor and Kenny Thomas together last season.
    With Collier coming off a knee injury and unlikely to be at full strength at the start of training camp, the Rockets will look at available centers, but might not rush into another free agent courtship.
    "We've got two other centers, Kelvin Cato and Jason Collier," Dawson said. "If we were planning for this to happen, we haven't put any time in on "How are we at center." All the scouts and the coaching staff will get together. We didn't anticipate being in this position."
    While Olajuwon had to come first to create the cap room, the Rockets can now move directly to signing their own players.
    Dan Fegan, the agent for Olajuwon, Anderson and Norris, said that Norris and Anderson want to remain with the Rockets and that enough work has been done to feel optimist that they would remain with the Rockets.
    "We've been working on Shandon and Moochie diligently," Fegan said. "Hakeem was the lynchpin to the process. That's how important Hakeem was to C.D. and Rudy (Tomjanovich)."
     
  2. barbourdg

    barbourdg Contributing Member

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    Reading about Carlos Rogers, WHY DOESN'T RUDY LIKE CARLOS? AT THE MOMENT, HE WOULD PROBABLY BE OUR BEST BET AT CENTER. Unless we pull off a trade or sign Jackson. Carlos always hustled, when he was in the game!!
     
  3. DieHard Rocket

    DieHard Rocket Contributing Member

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    I agree about Carlos. He would be a higher priority than bringing Shandon back, and would start if it were my choice. He plays extremely well in our offense, and there were several games last year that we couldn't have won without him. I hope the Rockets can come to their senses and bring him back, even though it doesn't appear likely.
     
  4. pippendagimp

    pippendagimp Member

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    Hakeem's words abt Vince Carter come across as a slap in the face of Steve Francis. Why couldn't it be Phi Slamma Jamma w/ Steve? Why couldn't Dream help make the game easier for him? "We're going to dunk on people." I must have been hallucinating the past two years when I saw all those Rocket highlights on Inside Stuff Jam Session. It is only coincidence that Hakeem sold his services to the highest bidder.
     
  5. bigboymumu

    bigboymumu Member

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    We're going to dunk on people. :confused:
     
  6. Jeff

    Jeff Clutch Crew

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    First, Hakeem won't be dunking on ANYBODY!

    Second, I guess the report from 610 earlier today about Anderson and Norris was incorrect. Fegan said that Anderson "is a Rocket" and that he and Moochie feel very strongly about that. That's good to hear.

    Finally, I would say it is now fairly likely that the Rockets push on with this team and MAYBE bring in a guy like Jackson but only if he is willing to do a 1 or 2 year deal as a test rather than a long-term agreement.

    Platooning at center is probably the most likely route with Cato, Collier and others taking turns.

    Carlos Rogers is a nice player but he is no real help at center. There's a reason he's moved around as much as he has and isn't on anyone's list this year. He is injury prone and is not the answer.
     
  7. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    You don't have a say on whether you get the exception or not. It is a result of producing a trade gap. It is pretty obvious, and Feigen states it, that Toronto motivation was to give Hakeem the most money they could, as a gesture and to help Dawson save face back home. It was a deal.

    The most Toronto could pay was $5.1m, because they could cash in their trade coupon. I really doubt the Rockets wanted ANYTHING in return that cost salary. This is not different than renouncing Dream or letting him go, which we all always talked about. We got 2 draft picks out of it.

    Since trade exceptions count as salary towards the cap, we have to lose it to maximize our cap room. While trade exceptions are valuable, nothing is more valuable or more flexible than cap room. And since you cannot have both exceptions and cap room at the same time, you always rid yourself of exceptions over cap room.

    Makes perfect sense to me.
     
  8. Franchisedream

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    Yeah Rogers hustled when he was in the game and I liked him, but I think he was injured more than Hakeem was. I thought one of the reason people wanted to get rid of Hakeem was because he wasn't healthy.
     
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