While Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has deservedly received much of the praise for shaping Houston’s roster into a title contender, Morey credit his star guard James Harden for his ability as a recruiter and a pitchman, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com.
“James was everything,” Morey said in discussing the Rockets’ roster building and the addition of Chris Paul. “Not only is he a great player on the floor, but he’s someone who’s just focused on winning and is willing to do anything to make it happen, whether it be meet with people, call them, text them, whatever is required. He makes my job easy.”
As MacMahon details, Harden and Paul were both instrumental in convincing P.J. Tucker to sign with the Rockets last summer. The veteran forward turned down a larger offer from the Raptors in order to join Harden and Paul in Houston, and he showed on Wednesday night how valuable he can be for the Rockets. Tucker, who scored 20 points in his first game with the team last October, hadn’t reached that mark again until he poured in 22 against Golden State in Game 2.
Here’s more from around the Southwest:
- Within a larger article on LeBron James‘ free agency, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer touches on the Kawhi Leonard situation in San Antonio. O’Connor says he has heard from multiple NBA executives that if the Spurs decide to make Leonard available, they wouldn’t trade him for anything less than a “grand-slam offer.”
- Having slipped from No. 2 to No. 4 in the draft lottery, the Grizzlies are probably no longer in play for Deandre Ayton and Luka Doncic. However, there should be plenty of appealing options available. Chris Herrington of The Memphis Commercial Appeal examines a few likely targets for the Grizzlies at No. 4 — and at No. 32, with their second-round pick.
- The Pelicans‘ first-round pick belong to the Bulls, meaning New Orleans will be seeking internal growth from youngsters like Cheick Diallo and Frank Jackson this offseason. William Guillory of The Times-Picayune has the story.