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[NBA.com] Stealth Rockets adding pieces, waiting for time to strike.

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by devin23, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. devin23

    devin23 Member

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    Written by Fran Blinebury. Lock if already posted.

    http://www.nba.com/2010/news/features/fran_blinebury/07/22/houston.miller/index.html?ls=iref:nbahpt1


    Stealth Rockets adding pieces, waiting for time to strike

    Posted Jul 22 2010 6:26PM

    HOUSTON -- Maybe it was fitting that Brad Miller showed up for his introductory press conference in Houston wearing camouflage pants. After all, the 34-year-old center looks right at home in this area of the country as an avid hunter with a rifle slung over his shoulder.

    "I feel like my personality needed to be in Texas at some point," Miller said.

    Miller is joining an organization that might as well be decked out in camo-wear itself. The Rockets are tip-toeing out of the summer's free-agent frenzy telling everyone that things are great after only dabbling with the roster.

    The truth is, the Rockets are locked, loaded and with their sights set on bigger game.

    Carmelo Anthony doesn't feel entirely satisfied with that $65 million offer from the Denver Nuggets?

    "Hello, 'Melo? This is Houston calling."

    Chris Paul decides that the changing of the guard to new coach Monty Williams and new general manager Dell Demps doesn't change the New Orleans Hornets into a legitimate championship contender?

    "Hey, CP3? How would you like to be tossing lob passes for easy dunks to Yao Ming?"

    Any All-Star, anywhere, unhappy and in need of a change of scenery?

    Teams will want to keep area code 713 on speed dial. That is, if the Rockets don't call first.

    Like virtually everyone else in the NBA, the Rockets dreamed big and swung for the fences when the free-agent period opened on July 1, even sending a caravan of wild-eyed fans out on the road to convince Chris Bosh to return to his native Texas.

    "We went after Chris because we think he's a real high-quality player," said Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. "He has a skill set that is hard to find in this league. That's something that if you can add to your team, you do it.

    "We weren't under any illusions. We knew it would have been a long shot for us to get him. We always knew it was an extraordinarily risky strategy betting on free agency, which worked fantastically for one team and the rest ... well, I'm not so sure."

    What the Rockets are sure of is that with a rehabilitated Yao Ming back in the middle following surgery on his left foot a year ago, they are significantly improved from last season's 42-40 record, which was not good enough to make the playoffs. They re-signed their own pair of key free agents -- forward Luis Scola (five years, $47 million) and guard Kyle Lowry (four years, $24 million) -- and added forward Patrick Patterson with the 14th pick in the Draft.

    What the Rockets wisely didn't do was hold onto a broken-down Tracy McGrady last season merely to subtract his whopping $22 million contract from their salary cap figure and then put all of their chips on the free-agency table. Morey and his staff had calculated that they were better off moving McGrady and forward Carl Landry last February at the trade deadline, bringing in guard Kevin Martin, and setting themselves up for perhaps an even bigger move down the line.

    In making that three-team trade that involved getting Martin from Sacramento and sending T-Mac to New York, the Rockets have stocked their roster with solid veterans (Shane Battier, Trevor Ariza, Chuck Hayes, Jared Jeffries) and young talent (Aaron Brooks, Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill) that can either play key roles on a playoff team or be moved easily because their contracts are friendly. The Rockets also have a pair of potentially valuable assets in two first-round, could-be lottery picks that came from the Knicks in the deal for McGrady.

    On one hand, with a recovered Yao finally getting support from a legitimate backup big man who can score in Miller, with Brooks coming off a season when he was named Most Improved Player, and with the belief that Martin has room to grow, the Rockets figure that they're back in the playoff mix in the contentious West. Which you'd expect since their payroll currently sits at around $78 million, way over the luxury tax threshold.

    "With a lot of guys like Yao Ming and Shane Battier (in the end of contracts) and the lockout (looming) next year, we're trying to make this a special year and go as far in the playoffs as we can," Morey said.

    "As a non-playoff team, we have to prove ourselves. I think it will take 50 wins to get there. Home court in the playoffs is the kind of goal you shoot for."

    However, to get to the next level as a real championship contender, it will take more. That's where the Rockets have been preparing for the next step.

    "Our owner (Leslie Alexander) has always been someone who is not afraid of the big move to get us as close to the championship as possible," Morey said. "We are set up (to deal). Those opportunities come rarely, sometimes not at all in a given year.

    "I can't talk about specific players. But we feel like whenever any trade comes along, we've got assets, maybe more than anybody else. Upgrading to a championship level is always difficult. But we're ready when that time comes."

    Until then, they'll be camped out in the woods as comfortable as Brad Miller in camouflage. Sitting. Waiting. Ready to hunt.
     
    2 people like this.
  2. declan32001

    declan32001 Member

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    I enjoyed that.
     
  3. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld Insufferable 98er
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    Decent article for Blinebury's standards.
     
  4. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Contributing Member

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    Yeah, getting fired removed some bitterness in Franny's rag writing.
     
  5. Carl Herrera

    Carl Herrera Contributing Member

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    The removal of Tracy McGrady may be the greater cause.
     
  6. mikol13

    mikol13 Protector of the Realm
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    Hopefully now is the time the Rockets assests land a big fish.
     
  7. Htown's2kFinest

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    "Hey, CP3? How would you like to be tossing lob passes for easy dunks to Yao Ming?"




    I'll like to see that...
     
  8. bellclare1

    bellclare1 Member

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    I love it. I think we could grab CP3, Derron Williams, Granger, or Melo a combination of two would push us over the top...
     
  9. ryano2009

    ryano2009 Member

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    Very nice article thanks for sharing.
     
  10. Dandamanz

    Dandamanz Member

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    Wow, finally some no-$hit article about the Rockets from nba.com The world must be ending
     
  11. conundrum

    conundrum Rookie

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    No $h*T?
     
  12. Williamson

    Williamson JOSH CHRISTOPHER ONLY FAN
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    Wow. Props to Blinebury. That may be the first of his article's I've ever enjoyed.
     
  13. mogrod

    mogrod Contributing Member

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    Hmmm, this quote right here is the most interesting to me. It seems to imply that he, and the organization, already have had a player or two in mind that they plan to target with their assets.

    I know, it's easy to say Melo and CP3. But, no one knows how Melo's situation will work out with his extension on the table. CP3 JUST came out demanding a trade. Both have talked about playing elsewhere and NOT Houston. Maybe I'm reading too much into the quote, but it certainly sounds like, if they didn't get Bosh, they still always had someone in mind waiting to pounce on at some point.

    It's like Morey is saying, "Yea, there is this one player we REALLY want, currently targeting and in trade talks for, and feel real good about acquiring him. But, I can't just can't tell you who that person is or I would be accused of tampering."

    Otherwise, I think it would have been a more general quite like, "Yea, in the chance something ever comes up with a player being available that we feel will improve our team, we feel like we have a lot of assets to offer."
     
  14. ico4498

    ico4498 Member
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    he's forbidden from speaking about specific players ... unless he wants to donate to Stern's fund.
     
  15. mogrod

    mogrod Contributing Member

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    Right. So why even say that he can't talk about specific players? According to the article, he wasn't asked about any specific players. Again, maybe I'm reading too much into it and just being an over-anxious Rocket fan, but it comes off like a tease. Hell, I dunno. The quote just stuck out to me.
     
  16. JMAD21

    JMAD21 Member

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  17. thetatomatis

    thetatomatis Member

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    Its good to see we have some former allies out there in the sports reporting world. Everyone other sports columnist either seems to be a Laker fan or Knicks fan or Heat fan trying to get them all superteams and just forgetting the rest of the NBA these days.
     
  18. H-TOWNSFINEST

    H-TOWNSFINEST Member

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    Soooo true.
     
  19. Rookie34

    Rookie34 Member

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    Nice article, Fran!
     
  20. daywalker02

    daywalker02 Member

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    to be more precise
     

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