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Rockets Notes: Yao, Free Agents, Dawson

The Rockets hold the unfortunate distinction of being the last team to fail to make the playoffs for three consecutive seasons. Not terrible, but not quite ready for the biggest of stages, the Rockets will turn to general manager Daryl Morey this offseason to make the necessary moves that will hopefully turn Houston into a legitimate contender for the long term, not just next season. Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle explores how the Rockets may get past mediocrity as they face uncertainty heading into free agency. 

  • The Rockets are looking to fill the void left by Yao Ming and hope to acquire a franchise player to build around as they attempted to do last offseason. Morey thought he had deals in place to acquire Pau Gasol and Nene, which would have put the Rockets back on the championship track, but was unable to finish the transactions thanks to commissioner David Stern. “We’re trying to find a way that shortens that timetable to do it as quickly as possible in a smart way, Morey said. We’re using free agency and trades as tools. When you lose two franchise players – we’re really on year two. Last season was the first year we were not betting on Yao being a franchise player.”
  • With only one superstar set to be available this summer in Deron Williams, the Rockets are unlikely to add a franchise player via free agency as reports have suggested Williams will only sign with the Mavs or Nets. As such, the Rockets aren't going to simply spend money on a lesser talent who holds name value just to appease fans unless it helps the team improve on the court according to Morey. “For sure we’d make that kind of move as long as it is a move that fits in the context of helping us win and keeps our chances of getting a franchise player,” Morey said. “The latter we’ll never compromise. We’re never going to reduce our chances to keep ourselves in play for a franchise player.”
  • Former general manager Carroll Dawson told Feigen that there were distinct periods in the Rockets' history and for better or for worse, their identity was based upon which superstars were with the team at the time. Now that Houston has separated itself from Yao Ming for good, the organization will be afforded the opportunity to forge a new identity even if that means enduring a rebuilding period, which would seemingly begin Thursday night at the draft.


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