The Rockets are undergoing some major changes this offseason, having parted ways with head coach Mike D’Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey since being eliminated from the playoffs in September. However, appearing today on CNBC (video link via Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston), team owner Tilman Fertitta indicated that he doesn’t expect those major offseason changes to extend to Houston’s roster.
“There’s no reason to blow up your roster. This is still our window, the next couple of years. James (Harden) and Russell (Westbrook) are in their early 30s. We’re not blowing up anything,” Fertitta said, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). “We plan on contending. … We’re going to do whatever we have to do to win.”
The Rockets’ roster and style of play in recent years has been significantly shaped by Morey and D’Antoni, who favored a fast-paced style of small-ball that featured plenty of three-point attempts. With both men leaving the organization this offseason, there has been some speculation that Houston will adjust its offensive philosophy and roster construction, which could pave the way for a trade involving a former MVP like Harden or Westbrook.
However, Houston’s new head of basketball operations Rafael Stone has been a Morey lieutenant for years, so it makes sense that his approach wouldn’t deviate too substantially from his longtime boss’. And Fertitta’s comments today suggest that the Rockets will enter the offseason looking to upgrade their roster around the edges in the hopes of making a deeper playoff run in 2021.
The Rockets’ situation is still worth keeping an eye on — if the team gets off to a disastrous start next season and reconsiders its stance on the state of its roster, it wouldn’t be just Harden and Westbrook who could become intriguing trade chips. P.J. Tucker and Robert Covington are valuable role players on team-friendly contracts who would draw leaguewide interest if they were made available.