James Harden and Trevor Ariza were both heavily involved in recruiting Eric Gordon, as the shooting guard writes for The Players’ Tribune. Both players called Gordon nearly every day leading up to free agency, explaining to him that he was the missing piece while talking about how unstoppable the offense would be and how successful the Rockets could be in the postseason if he decided to come to Houston. Gordon ended up signing a four-year. $53MM deal with the team last summer.
Here’s more from Houston as the team gets ready for its round two matchup with the Spurs:
- Gordon said that neither Harden nor Ariza had mentioned coming off the bench during any of their offseason phones calls, Gordon writes in the same piece. That revelation came 11 games into this season when coach Mike D’Antoni told him that he would come off the bench. “Bam. No leading into the conversation. No softening the blow. Just like that, I’d lost my starting spot,” Gordon writes. The shooting guard has embraced his role off the bench and he’s a top candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year award.
- Zhou Qi, who was the No. 43 overall pick in the 2016 draft, will begin training with the Rockets with the hope of joining the NBA club next season, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle relays. “We are looking forward to sitting down and talking and seeing what might happen in the future. His dream is to one day play in the NBA. Right now, we are focused on training,” Zhou’s agent said.
- Ryan Anderson, who signed a four-year, $80MM deal with the Rockets last offseason, is excited to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since the 2009/10 season, as Feigen writes in a separate piece. “Series one went by quick. This season went by quick. But it feels like this group has been together a whole lot longer than it had because we enjoy being around each other. It’s been a fun year,” Anderson said.