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Chron: Rockets front-office moves throughout the years

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Rockets34Legend, Jun 23, 2004.

  1. Rockets34Legend

    Rockets34Legend Contributing Member

    Jun 12, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Didn't see this posted anywhere....


    Recent deals add pressure to this one

    There is one thing that should be more worrisome than any part of this on-again, off-again blockbuster trade the Rockets are trying to pull of with the Orlando Magic.

    Luck had nothing to do with the decision to try to make it. Uh oh.

    If the Rockets — once brilliant when it came to personnel transactions — have proved anything in recent years, it is that they're much better when good fortune, rather than strategic planning, has been the biggest factor in making moves.

    Since 1998, we've seen this team's decision makers trot out a succession of players who failed or, in the case of Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley and Kelvin Cato, could be on the way out.

    We've seen the Rockets make decisions they probably wish they could have back, none more painful than passing on local product Rashard Lewis in the 1998 draft despite having three first-round picks that became Michael Dickerson, Bryce Drew and Mirsad Turkcan. In retrospect, the only good pick in that draft was Mobley, who fell into the Rockets' lap with the 41st selection.

    We've seen complementary players such as Pig Miller, Moochie Norris and Eric Piatkowski signed and contribute to varying degrees, but ultimately they failed to make the expected impact.

    Big splashes, little return

    We've seen a pair of blockbuster trades involving Scottie Pippen, one bringing him from Chicago in 1999 and another less than a year later shipping him to Portland for Stacey Augmon, Cato, Ed Gray, Carlos Rogers, Brian Shaw and Walt Williams. Some of those players contributed; none made a playoff difference. All will be gone if Cato is dealt to Orlando.

    We've seen other big trades, like acquiring the rights to Francis from Vancouver for Antoine Carr, Dickerson, Othella Harrington, Brent Price and a first-round draft pick.

    We've seen ill-fated draft picks and decisions, from taking Dan Langhi to allowing James Posey to move on.

    We've seen the Rockets trade the rights to Joel Przybilla for Jason Collier in 2000. We've seen them trade the rights to Richard Jefferson, a bona fide star, for Eddie Griffin, a bust and head case in Houston.

    Moment of truth

    That's why this might well be the biggest play in this front-office regime's collective professional life. It has made numerous moves that just didn't work out.

    Given that the trade became more convoluted Tuesday as Francis tried to whine his way out of another city, these are fateful times indeed for the Rockets' front office.

    This trade could be the brain trust's salvation, a moment in club history that proves general manager Carroll Dawson, vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey and the scouting staff have only been slumping. Not sliding.

    Or this could be their last hurrah, another in a line of moves that have simply been bad, ill-fated, spoiled or all of the above.

    Just imagine what happens if the deal falls through. Imagine the mess Francis would stir up behind the scenes all season long. Never the most even-tempered of employees when the cameras aren't rolling, Francis surely would feel scorned and unloved after being so close to Orlando he could almost smell the funnel cakes.

    It would be only the latest backfire in so many grand Rockets plans.

    With the exception of tremendous luck in winning the Yao Ming lottery two years ago, the majority of personnel moves since the inception of this new generation of Rockets have not panned out.

    If Francis, Mobley and Cato head to the Magic for Tracy McGrady, Juwan Howard and Tyronn Lue, not a single player will remain from the Rockets' roster of just three seasons ago. That tells us that for the better part of six years it's all been like running in place.

    All the tinkering, experimenting and planning in search of playoff magic since 1999, when the Rockets last advanced to the postseason prior to this year's early exit, could only be considered a bust.

    It also would tell us, and the Rockets' decision makers, that this move had better not go sour, too. Leslie Alexander might be a rare breed among club owners in that he has a good eye for talent, often goes the extra mile, and is adept at putting pieces together. Alexander must share the blame in the decision-making doldrums of recent years, but he won't fire himself.

    Alexander should feel good about this trade because it looks like a good one, at least in terms of teaming a legitimate 40-point threat with the league's unique big man, Yao.

    But there are holes in the Rockets' game that suddenly would look gaping even with Howard filling the void at power forward.

    There is the obvious hole — who's going to play the point? But there are much more subtle problems that could prove to be significant.

    Like, who would be the backup center? For all of Cato's shortcomings with effort and consistency, he was possibly the best backup center in the league last season when he wasn't playing power forward. When inspired, he also defended.

    And how much would this team miss Mobley's strong defensive presence? His ability to take on the big and small superstar talents, from Kobe Bryant to occasionally Peja Stojakovic, offered coach Jeff Van Gundy a luxury few teams have.

    Jim Jackson can defend, but at 6-5 and slated to play small forward, he would not figure to be the defensive stalwart Mobley was at the same height. Maurice Taylor would be a drop-off as a rebounder and inside. McGrady would bring average defense and a history of back problems at a young age (25). And the backcourt depth would be a big question.

    Still, there are many reasons to believe this trade can work if it happens. For those in the Rockets' front office desperately needing to break out of a horrible slump, it had better.
  2. emjohn

    emjohn Contributing Member

    Jul 29, 2002
    Likes Received:
    That article is a load of crap. It's like half the posters on this BBS that throw all the moves in a negative light and convienently forget the rest. Oh, and not to mention that the Chronicle itself sang praises with just about all the moves when they happened. Monday Morning Quarterbacking at it's worst.

    Pippen trade: was hailed as a possible championship move when it happened. Also, if you go back and look at the whole deal (getting him to moving him), it boils down to getting Cato and Walt Williams for Roy (remember him?) Rogers. Lemonade out of lemons.

    Rashard Lewis: too many teams passed on him (2nd round pick)for it to be a fair pass of judgement. Also, I am convinced that Rudy pushed to hard for people that reminded him of himself. Seriously. He was obsessed with bigs that could shot from the outside and were weak defenders. Look at who he kept putting on the team/drafted: Pete Chilcutt, Matt Bullard, Jason Collier, Turkan, Nachbar, Dan Langhi, etc.

    This Lopez thinks that Collier for Przybilla was some sort of screw up? It was a stiff for a stiff! Neither one panned out, neither was really expected to.

    He says Mobley was the only good pick from the 98 draft, despite the fact that Dickerson played strongly as a rookie, and continued to play well in the league until 2 years ago because of injury. Turkan was the only true bad call, but again, see above.

    He's bemoaning how they let James Posey move on (looked good on a team that fits his full court game much better than JVG's deliberate half court system), despite the fact that Jim "Perfect Fit" Jackson was brought in for almost half the money Posey commanded and became one of the team's most solid and consistent players.

    Tinted glasses.

    #2 emjohn, Jun 23, 2004
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2004
  3. DanTanna

    DanTanna Contributing Member

    Oct 12, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Way too negative for me.
  4. Easy

    Easy Boban Only Fan
    Supporting Member

    Jul 23, 2002
    Likes Received:
    So Lopez is on this board too.

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