Rockets Plan To Keep Spending, Add Another Top Player

The Rockets are planning to keep their starting five intact and will attempt to “add a third star or a top mid-level player to our core,” GM Daryl Morey said in an ESPN Radio interview on Monday.

Reports surfaced late last month after the Rockets were eliminated by the Warriors during the conference semifinals that Morey had made available everyone on his roster with the possible exception of James Harden. Morey declared on the Golic & Wingo show that he plans to keep the core group of Harden, Chris Paul, Clint Capela, P.J. Tucker and Eric Gordon intact while adding another impact player to the mix.

Morey says he’s been given the green light from owner Tilman Fertitta to upgrade the roster, despite major luxury tax issues. The salaries next season for the above five players alone add up to approximately $115MM.

He also believes that with significant injuries to Warriors’ stars Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson and despite the pending trade of Anthony Davis to the Lakers, the Rockets should be considered the Western Conference’s premier team.

“We feel like we should be the favorite in the West, and we’re going to do moves to show people that we should be the favorite in the West, and that’s going to create a little tension when we do that,” Morey said. “But at the end of the day, we’re going to have at least our starting five back, which again most teams are scrambling to keep it together and we’re going to spend mid-level, we’re going to spend into the tax. We’re going to be one of the most expensive rosters, like we were last year and this year, and we’re going to be right there.”

Morey also addressed a few other issues:

  • He downplayed any disconnect between his superstar guards. An in-depth story from ESPN’s Tim MacMahon detailed the turmoil within the organization, including the tension between their two best players due to the differences in their preferred playing styles and personalities. “Two competitive superstars at that level, there’s going to be times when they are extremely competitive, extremely focused on how do we get to that next level, and when we don’t there’s going to be frustration,” Morey said.
  • He expressed optimism that the organization will reach a contract extension agreement with coach Mike D’Antoni, who is entering the final year of his deal. D’Antoni’s agent indicated a week ago that there was a lack of progress. “He’s going to be our coach next year. We’re hoping to work things out for the future right now; if we don’t, we’re going to work it out after next season,” Morey said.
  • He insisted that Paul had not asked for a trade, though his contract would be tough to move anyway. Paul has three years and approximately $124MM remaining on his deal, which includes a player option in the final season.
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43 thoughts on “Rockets Plan To Keep Spending, Add Another Top Player

  1. goldenmisfit

    When is this guy going to get it his plan or should I say trying to steal the Warriors plan is not working in Houston. They are no closer to a championship then when they got Chris Paul. He was supposed to be the missing piece and they are farther away now than they were two years ago when they acquired him.

    • Jason Lancaster

      Houston lost the last GSW series by a total of 10 points, but the conventional wisdom is that they can’t win because blah blah blah.

      They play that same series five times, there’s a very good chance they win 2 or 3 sets of games. It’s literally one or two possessions in each game that put one team over the other.

      “They can’t win.” Stop it. They came closer than any other team, and unlike Toronto they faced the full strength team and beat them.

      • My only beef is Rocket fans that complain about GSW getting Durant and has to many all stars. When in reality Rockets do it too. I do agree that Houston should be the favorites in the west while Thompson and Durant are out not Lakers.

        • KnicksFanCavsFan

          You can’t compare Curry/Durant/Klay/Green/Cousins to Harden/Paul/Capela/Gordon. Pleease…accept the hate and envy because you guys were a 73 win team that got spanked by the Cavs and went on to sign a top 3 NBA player in the NBA. You are 1/2 vs the Cavs without Durant and that first meeting vs the Cavs was without Love and Irving. Those are facts.

          • Strike Four

            Every moron troll like KnicksFanCavsFan always sounds like this “Well if you didn’t have good players you wouldnt have won, and when you didnt have good players you lost, small game samples are more important to me than 82 games”

            lol go away troll

      • Sheldon Bowen

        Problem is they lost to a very wounded team and faced a flawed team in Utah in the first round. Cp3 I think we would agree is going to regress. I get running it back and won’t disagree. Adding the extra impact guy sounds tough

        • KnicksFanCavsFan

          Durant was the only guy not to play all 6 games. But why does that matter? They beat everyone except the GSW, who while hurt, won’t be anywhere near the same team next year without Durant and Klay and anyone that walks/retires. Sure, they will bring new guys in but it would be interesting to see what money they have if they sign Klay and Durant to max contracts. They’ll also be way over the lux tax where $1 is really $3+. Would they be willing to pay 2x-3x market value for role players?

        • Strike Four

          What extra impact guy would like to play with CP3, the worst teammate in the league?

      • RenoChris

        Shoulda coulda woulda an L is an L you will not beat the Warriors at full strength with this roster you won’t. You can make every excuse in the book. Warriors coexist with each other, share the ball, and genuinely like each other. You can’t say that about the Rockets.

    • victorg

      that is in accurate goldenmisfit and what trump would call fake news … in 18 they had GSW on the ropes in game 6 and then were up big at the half in game 7 W/O CP3. in 19 they were not as close to beating GSW but they still put up a damn good fight. but that being said yeah I would like to move CP3 if I am being honest.

    • KnicksFanCavsFan


      What’s this magical elixir the GSW have that you speak of? Signing Kevin Durant (kidding…sort of)? I love their ball movement. If the GSW are without Durant and Klay then maybe, as constituted, they can et out the West. If healthy I think Boogie Cousins would be a good fit for the Rockets as well as the Trail Blazers. A big who can space the floor. He’s a legit play-maker. If he can start the season healthy and they manage his load like the Raptors did with Kawhi he could be a monster.

    • Jason Lancaster

      Because there was a list of teams that would have given Paul the exact same contract, dingus. That was market rate.

      • imindless

        35 million for an injury prone player at age 35 and beyond. Not gonna age welk

      • Reflect

        That doesn’t mean it was a good move. To be better than everyone else you have to be smarter than everyone else. That means not making the same mistakes everyone else is ready to make.

        • victorg

          well you are forgetting that this is coming off a 2018 game 7 WCF loss to GSW were in everyone s mind if CP3 had not gotten hurt in game 5 the ROX would have won the WCC and then would have beaten LBJ in the finals … so it was either OVERPAY for CP3 or let him walk for nothing and still not have cap space to sign a FA plus take the PR hit that it would have created to the fact they had a wink wink deal in place ok you do this and we will do this and then take a step back in the arms race against GSW.

            • victorg

              thank you @knicksfancavsfan. NOW if you want to debate well they never should have made the trade to begin with that could be argued seeing has Harrell has become a legit STUD and sweet lu just had maybe his best season… if you would have not made the deal it would/could have afforded you to trade Capela/Pat Beverly and a couple of picks for jimmy butler and now we are talking Harden Gordon Butler Tucker Harrell starting with L. Williams/Green and assuming Rivers and Faried still shake loose and become avail.

              • KnicksFanCavsFan

                Too much “maybe”. Keep in mind again. They’ve beat everyone except the GSW. Other teams might step up but the deal made them better. Now going fwd, it’s all about Harden and Paul putting aside their alpha dog pride and figuring it all out. I also think bringing back D’Antonni might be their ultimate downfall.

    • Luckylefty2

      He is one of the leaders of the NBPA so he leveraged that to finesse the rockets lol

    • Harden recruited CP3 the prior year to forego the FA market (and a 4 year 35% max from the Clips or any other team with cap space) by opting in to last year of his contract (at a mere 24 mm/1 year) so Houston (without the cap space to sign him) could trade for him. So, figure it out.

      • victorg

        and it would have been in poor taste BUT smart biz to say hey listen things changed he can offer you this instead … because lets face it he was not getting this contract anywhere else.

        • Beyond poor taste. It would have been reneging on an understanding with one of the league’s most respected players, and making your star (Harden) complicit in it. That would have had consequences more serious than a bloated contract, and long after CP3’s deal is over.

  2. When are they going to start spending? Over the cap and under the tax, and with limited trade assets (or even matching contracts), I don’t see how they keep their top 5 and add a star. They can say they’re willing to pay tax this year, but the time to do that was last year before dealing their 1st and Knight’s contract to get off a small tax bill.

    • victorg

      correct smart move would to have been to trade Anderson and picks for butler and then go over the tax to resign him.

      • Or, after that ship had passed, just keep Knight’s now expiring deal to facilitate a trade this summer, and the 2019 1st to combine with other 1st’s to add some value. Morey is a master at moving pieces around, but he’s left with few pieces that I can see.

      • KnicksFanCavsFan

        @victorg It takes two to tango. The Wolves maybe wouldn’t have wanted his contract and a couple of late 1st round picks.

  3. Bryzzo2016

    That’s great that they’re that thirsty to try and win that they’ll keep spending, but the NBA has a cap. It’s not MLB. They essentially would need a “star” to take the mid level exception. Not sure a “star” would do that. I don’t think folks are lining up to play next to a ball dominant, volume shooting iso player that keeps wetting himself when it matters most.

  4. Reflect

    How would they be able to do anything with no cap room? Am I missing something or are they just delusional? Isn’t the cap a (mostly) hard cap?

    • victorg

      i think morey is saying what tillman told him to say … and i think morey wants out along with cp3 .

  5. Archie M.

    If they’re REALLY SERIOUS about chasing the championship, add Vucevic or Valanciunas then bring back Beverley, then trade Capela for Horford (+ pick) or Brook Lopez (+ pick).

    • bowserhound

      Lopez is a FA and he’s going to sign with the Lakers for next to nothing.

      • KnicksFanCavsFan

        He did that last year. I’m sure he’ll look to sign with a contender but probably wouldn’t mind a raise above the $3 mil and change he signed for this past season.

  6. KnicksFanCavsFan

    In the real world….Lopez is a UFA. Also, Horford makes twice as much as Capela so that would mean bringing back an extra contract they may not want.

  7. Strike Four

    It’s going to be hilarious when Curry and Draymond still beat Houston next year.

  8. jochilz

    OK theyre going to add a impact player with the MID LEVEL and be favorites? Lol love that shit show in Houston. Enjoy paying CP3 that super max while you waste a few more years of Hardens prime. By the time it’s all figured out Luka is king in Texas

  9. x%sure

    “add a third star or a top mid-level player to our core”

    That promise is easy to keep, just by adding a decent player with their MLE. And that will likely be their only significant move of the offseason. No trade will make sense if they keep that crucial 5, which with their experience can win the WC if left intact.

    Now Morey saying CP3 never asked for a trade… I think Morey is learning to lie to his liar boss through the media. His statement sounds fancy enough to quell Fertita without committing to anything as stupid as he seems to want.

    To be fair to Fertita, he may be responding to Harden saying they need another star. I am speculating that because the Rocket fanbase tends to say that and Harden is like that (he started the push for CP3).

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