Rockets Looking To Make Trades
If you're a Rockets fan feeling the draft, don't be confused.
It's not the fast-approaching NBA draft that will provide significant winds of change and alter the direction of this organization.
It's all the other imminent changes, like severing ties with Vassilis Spanoulis, moving John Lucas III and trading Luther Head for a power forward. It's Bonzi Wells finding a happy place while Rafer Alston and Mike James find a happy medium.
There's a new coach in town in Rick Adelman. There's also a new general manager in Daryl Morey and an entirely new staff of coaches.
All these new faces must do just one thing: get this club back to the good old days.
Wanted: Results now
The new direction must produce immediate results for franchise players Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, not to mention so many frustrated fans.
That's why as much as the Rockets should hope to find gold late in the first round of the June 28 draft, it would be silly to expect it. A low first-round player just won't
become a significant piece as a rookie.
Adelman knows it. Morey knows it. Everyone knows it.
Thus, the Rockets are entering a stretch of offseason decision-making that could determine whether they are doing things to move on in the NBA playoffs for the first time in a decade or just rearranging chairs on the deck of the Titanic.
Considering the organization has lost many reliable, familiar pieces since bowing out of the playoffs in the first round, including longtime GM Carroll Dawson, coach Jeff Van Gundy and talented personnel executive Dennis Lindsey, the Rockets need to get this offseason right.
McGrady and Yao need to go a step deeper in the playoffs, or they'll lose credibility as superstar talents. But the Spurs aren't going anywhere, the Mavericks and Suns are a clear cut above the Rockets, and the Jazz proved to be a younger, more explosive and better team in the postseason.
If McGrady and Yao don't step up now and don't get the pieces they need around them, then when will they?
Tired of waiting
Which leads to the bigger objective. Owner Leslie Alexander changed coaches this offseason in large part because of style over substance. In other words, dollars and cents.
The Rockets won 52 games, but Alexander knows fans in this city are tired of waiting and tired of all the near-misses.
He knows fans want to see something they can get excited about again. He knows fast-breaking and wide-open basketball could do the trick, but only if wins and playoff potential are not sacrificed.
Rebuilding — or taking a step back in 2007-08 for the sake of taking two steps forward later — simply won't be acceptable.
The changes we are about to see in the makeup of the Rockets' roster are going to come swiftly. If the results do not arrive swiftly as well, then the first year of the Adelman-Morey era can only be considered a flop.
That's why there will be more player movement than you probably expected.
Already, the Rockets brought back James, who will share time with Alston at point guard. Gone is power forward Juwan Howard.
More dealing is imminent, beginning with Spanoulis, Lucas and Head.
Spanoulis already has all but written his own ticket out of town, telling the team recently that he will not participate in the summer league next month. The Rockets apparently are trying to snag one of the Mavericks' three second-round draft picks in exchange for Spanoulis.
And while they can hope to find a productive power forward via the draft with the 26th pick, the Rockets know they must protect themselves at that position or risk giving Yao even less help than he had last season.
The only power forward available right now, after all, is the undersized and nonexistent scoring threat Chuck Hayes, a restricted free agent.
Looking to L.A.
The Los Angeles Clippers also appear to be discussing trading forward James Singleton (6-8, 215 pounds) to the Rockets in a deal that would involve Lucas.
And the Los Angeles Lakers are contemplating a deal involving Head in exchange for power forward Brian Cook (6-9, 250 pounds).
The new staff also seems to like the offense 6-10 forward Steve Novak will bring, and the Rockets have the means to finagle salary-cap room by dealing guard Bob Sura. There's also the mid-level exception available to the Rockets.
As the offseason heats up, the options will be many for those in the new regime. Ultimately, though, there's only one option that will suffice. They have to be right.
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