The Rockets set a franchise record for most wins in a season with 65 victories last year. The team didn’t take home a coveted NBA championship but GM Daryl Morey believes no matter what pinnacles a franchise reaches, there’s always room to improve.
“When you’re trying to win a title, there’s always fine-tuning, you can always get better,” Morey said (via Mark Berman of Fox 26 on Twitter).
Morey hinted that he wouldn’t hesitate to make a major move should a worthwhile opportunity present itself. “We have all of our draft picks going forward. If something presents itself that allows us to make a trade to improve the team we’re not going to hesitate to do that,” Morey explained.
The team also traded away Ryan Anderson, bringing in a former top-10 pick in Marquese Chriss. Chriss, who plateaued during his sophomore campaign with the Suns, is far from a finished product. However, the Rockets should be able to provide him with a better situation to develop, as he’ll be playing alongside established All-Stars and veterans as opposed to a team full of young talent and past-their-prime players.
Should Chriss improve, Morey will have another top trade asset in his arsenal and Houston could be in a position to add a real piece on the trade market.
Chriss, who is owed $3.2MM this season and has a team option on his deal for the 2019/20 season, can be dealt by the team right away, just not in a deal that aggregates his salary with another player. Those restrictions are removed two months after a trade, meaning when the calendar turns to November, Morey can attach Chriss to other players in a trade that brings back a larger salary.
There haven’t been any reports of Chriss being a trade candidate this season, though as we’ve seen with Morey, the wheels are always turning. It’s hard not to see the path that improves Chriss’ trade value early in the season and puts the Rockets in a place where they can yet again be major players on the trade market.