- Houston is putting virtually its entire roster on the trade block
- The Rockets were foiled by Warriors in NBA Playoffs again this year
- Is Houston still worthy of these odds for next season’s NBA title?
There’s an immediacy to the NBA now that is unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
The latest example comes out of Houston, where an ESPN story says that Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey has made his entire roster and future draft picks available in trade talks, in the hopes of shaping a contender.
Sources: In calls to front offices, Houston GM Daryl Morey is showing an aggressive desire to improve roster with all players and picks available in talks. Hard to imagine James Harden scenario, but the rest under contract – perhaps even Chris Paul – could be moved in right deal.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 29, 2019
Despite that TNT-triggering announcement, the Rockets’ 2020 NBA Championship odds remained rock-steady.
2020 NBA Championship Odds
|Team||2020 NBA Championship Odds|
|Golden State Warriors||+200|
|New York Knicks||+1500|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+1800|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+2000|
*Odds from 05/29/2019. Click on the link in the table above to see odds for all 30 teams.
This is the same Rockets team that just a few months ago was pegged by many to unseat the Golden State Warriors juggernaut. Instead, even without Kevin Durant, the Dubs took apart Houston in Round 2. Let’s see if they are worth of a wager.
Lineup Tinkering Failed Miserably
After failing to capitalize on a 3-2 lead over the Warriors two seasons ago – with the infamous 0-for-27 three-point stretch in Game 7 at home – the Rockets couldn’t bring the band back together. They lost key pieces in their rotation in Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute and tried to replace them with a bevy of band-aids like Carmelo Anthony, James Ennis, and Michael Carter-Williams.
The only thing that held them together was a superhuman season from James Harden. With co-stars Chris Paul and Clint Capela out for extended periods, Harden carried a mismatched squad that stumbled to an 8-14 start. The Beard’s heroics righted the ship, and they went a whopping 45-15 the rest of the way.
Chris Paul Experiment an Abject Fail?
Landing Chris Paul from the Clippers was such a coup at the time, but it’s a move that has hurt the team in both the short and potentially long term.
Chris Paul appears to aggravate hamstring injury late in 4th quarter pic.twitter.com/ZymxtH0J6Q
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) May 25, 2018
Paul couldn’t stay healthy enough to be a difference maker, playing just 58 games each of his two regular seasons. And when they needed him most – two chances to clinch an NBA Finals’ berth, his body failed him, sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Healthy for the playoffs this season, reports came out of Houston about a rift between Harden and Paul, and the distribution of touches.
Whether that’s true or not, the Rockets may want to move on, but moving a 34-year-old injury-prone point guard, who just inked an extension that pays him $124 million over the next three years?
The possibility of trading All-NBA guard James Harden is believed to be extremely limited, but the rest of the roster — including even Chris Paul and Clint Capela — could be more realistic trade targets, sources said pic.twitter.com/z5620AD5Jv
— 484848 (@SOULFOOD484848) May 29, 2019
On top of that, Capela proved virtually unplayable in the postseason, which wouldn’t be so bad, if he wasn’t into the second year of a five-year, $90 million pact. Yikes.
Should You Be Wagering on Houston?
With Harden as the franchise player (and likely not on the block), they’ve got the one essential piece to build a contender. They’ve also got a smart GM in Morey, but are they now fishing with a bunch of other teams hoping to reel in some big catches? Try to piece that all together and run the gauntlet out West, with the big boss Warriors still lurking.
Those odds would need to lengthen a lot to even consider this a value pick. I’d advise you to steer clear of the Rockets.