Did The Rockets Owner Just Give Their Roster The Kiss Of Death?
On one hand, there was a 0.0% chance that the Rockets owner was going to go on TV and declare that his franchise is about to smash that rebuild button and blow it all up. He's not going to screw his new GM and coach like that. You have to maintain as much leverage as you possibly can right now if you're the Rockets.
On the other hand, this would be the last thing I would want to hear as a Rockets fan. Everyone knows that if you have to come out and talk about how you aren't going to blow up your team, you are definitely taking calls right this second. Plus, it's not like we didn't see this team come out publicly and say they aren't trading Chris Paul, only to then immediately trade Chris Paul.
You also have to read in between the lines here a little bit. The Rockets can still "blow it up" while not trading Harden or Russell Westbrook. They can still move Eric Gordon/PJ Tucker/Robert Covington/Austin Rivers etc if they end up having to change course with a new style. I mean the Rockets still don't have a coach for crying out loud. Is a requirement that whoever they bring in has to commit to their current style of play? If not, they sort of have to make some changes if they decide to play a different way.
I blogged last week after the Morey news that if the Rockets were to go ahead and blow things up, you pick Russell Westbrook. Get whatever you can and reset this thing around James Harden. Maybe the Knicks will be desperate enough to make a deal, you never know.
At the end of the day, the Rockets do need to pick a direction. The worst place you can be in the NBA is in some sort of purgatory where you aren't good enough to at least make the WCF but are too good to fully tank. That ain't the way. Either go all in and move your big time players in hopes of jump starting your rebuild (OKC), or find some different combinations around Westbrook/Harden to have you better equipped to handle the size that lives out West. The thing is, the Rockets owner isn't exactly the type of owner to just write a check and pay the luxury tax over and over. That's what else would make me nervous. He can't go out there and talk about doing whatever it takes, but then not cut the check. Especially if they are in fact NOT blowing it up.