Stein’s Latest: Capela, Gordon, Tucker, Lakers, Wolves, Grizzlies

When ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported last week that the Rockets were making virtually everyone on their roster besides James Harden available in trade talks, it was presented as general manager Daryl Morey doing his due diligence and being open to all options. Morey and owner Tilman Fertitta later praised Houston’s starting five and predicted it would return intact next season.

In his latest newsletter, however, Marc Stein of The New York Times paints a different picture. According to Stein, the Rockets are “actively” exploring the trade market for possible deals involving Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, and/or P.J. Tucker. One source with knowledge of the club’s thinking tells Stein that Houston is operating as if at least one of those three players won’t be on the roster next season.

Gordon, who has one year and $14MM left on his contract, and Tucker, who has about $16MM+ left over two years, may be easier for the Rockets to move than Capela, since they’re veterans capable of fitting in anywhere and wouldn’t require a long-term salary commitment. However, Capela’s four years of team control may appeal to a club that’s looking for an answer at center and hoping to avoid overpaying a free agent.

As we wait to see what Morey has up his sleeve, here are a few more minor items from Stein:

  • While the amount of years and money the Lakers were willing to offer Tyronn Lue contributed to negotiations breaking down, a disagreement over his staff was also a factor. According to Stein, general manager Rob Pelinka and advisor Kurt Rambis wanted to be able to select Lue’s assistants.
  • The Timberwolves are taking a similar approach under new head of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, according to Stein, who notes that Rosas brought back Ryan Saunders but dismissed his entire staff. Stein writes that Saunders wanted to hire Sidney Lowe as his lead assistant, but was rebuffed by management.
  • The Grizzlies, the only team still seeking a new head coach, are believed to be considering a new bench model. Memphis wants to have at least one of its assistant coaches hold a dual title that includes some personnel responsibilities, says Stein.
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13 thoughts on “Stein’s Latest: Capela, Gordon, Tucker, Lakers, Wolves, Grizzlies

  1. hoosierhysteria

    GMs wanting to pick assistants? A new model alright except it won’t work. Rockets screwed up letting Ariza go…he was a dawg on defense. Defense was their big weakness….they still might be second best team. No need to blow it up. Chris Paul contract is big problem. Lame duck coach will let team backslide. He quits mid-year.

    • victorg

      ariza was a big reason why the rox didn’t get past GSW in 2018 going his shooting stroke was abysmal in that series…

      • x%sure

        I recall they wanted to push Kidd in but not the whole staff. That is excessive.

        And requiring a spy on the staff is too much also.

  2. knickscavsfan

    GMs wanting to hire a coach and have input on adding a assistant coach is not unheard of but those are usually inexperienced coaches or coaches with an historic weakness. Sort of like asking D’Antoni to hire a defensive minded assistant. However, you don’t do that to a coach who’s been to the Finals 4 consecutive years and won a chip. Way too many sous chefs in the kitchen messin’ with the gumbo.

  3. Gary

    I just see it would be hard to lose any of those guys on the Rockets. Tucker, Gordon and Capela were such a huge part of how they were made up with their grit and defense and Gordon’s offensive skills.

    The Rockets were right on the doorstep with this team… how can you lose a guy like Gordon or PJ Tucker? If you trade away capella what are you going to get back that would improve the team?

    If the owner is serious about winning a championship he needs to go over the cap and pay big-time luxury-tax like the Warriors do. Just go for it trying to make a 3-year run and see if you can win one or two.

    I mean the Rockets are right there ! So close. You trade away one of the core and you don’t know what’s going to happen next year.

    • victorg

      I agree the only choice you have is to go all in .. hope to get a big time player on the 5 mil mid level .. and or move CP3 for a true SF and just start Gordon opposite harden in the backcourt.

      • Gary

        Yeah that could work too. I would just hate to miss having Gordon on the team. He’s such an incredible scorer and gives everything he has every time out.

        • x%sure

          Yes Gordon is a backup that until last year could bail out the starters, a valuable commodity. He was not especially valuable as a starter in previous stops. He looked okay in the playoffs, so lets call last year a short slump.
          PJ Tucker creates crucial activity down low for cheap on a team that is all up high.
          And Capella needs Harden to set him up.

          Trading these players will improve nobody. Fertita should shut up and sign for cheap quality midsize vets.

          • victorg

            Tillman is starting to worry me but then again this guy has made a bazillion dollars so he might know better then me.

  4. jeremy

    Let’s face it lue didn’t want to hire a coach who could replace him if all went wrong

  5. I’m not a fan of it, but it’s certainly not new (in the NBA or any other league) for the FO, and even the Owner, to be involved in who is, and who isn’t, hired on a coaching staff. MDA was forced to hire a “defensive coordinator” with the Knicks almost a decade ago, and while the guy needed to be acceptable to him, he was not selected by him.

    It’s sort of comical in the disparity of how a HC is thought of for different tasks. A HC generally, without the FO (unless Phil Jackson is in the FO), sets the style, system and rotation, and FO mostly defers to this in constructing the team roster. This, despite the fact that most of the significant personnel moves a FO makes have a shelf life well beyond the average tenure of a HC. On the other hand, FO’s don’t trust the HC to pick his own AC’s without FO involvement.

    Same with the sort of out of left field desire that some Owners seem to have in the hiring and firing the HC. Owners trust their FO to construct their team (100-250 mm long term decisions), but not to pick the guy who will coach it (5 mm, year to year, if not day to day, decision).

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