While most teams are looking to retool in order to unseat the Golden State Warriors, who have won three of the last four NBA championships, the Houston Rockets have doubled down on their core.
By re-signing guard Chris Paul and center Clint Capela to long-term deals this offseason, the organization believes it can get to the next level on the shoulders of MVP winner James Harden. When Harden, Paul, and Capela were all in the lineup together, the Rockets tallied an astonishing 42-3 record. Houston general manager Daryl Morey opted to keep that core intact.
The Rockets have lost key players, including Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute, but they’re also expected to be in the mix for Carmelo Anthony, who recently secured a buyout from the Atlanta Hawks.
ESPN also reported that the Rockets are looking to add defensive players, and they could be willing to relinquish future assets or take back long-term money in order to facilitate a trade involving power forward Ryan Anderson.
Anderson has one year and $20.4 million remaining on his current contract. One player who could make sense is Nicolas Batum, who is under contract until 2021. A solid 3-and-D player, Batum would make sense in a Rockets uniform.
Ultimately, the Rockets will need their big three to play well and stay healthy. Paul’s hamstring injury in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals severely hindered the Rockets’ ability to get past the Warriors and advance to the Finals.
The Rockets, along with the Warriors, will enter the 2018-19 season as one of the favorites to reach the NBA Finals.
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