Texas Notes: New Rockets Backcourt, Doncic, McLemore, Stone

With the James Harden drama now in their rearview, the Rockets have a backcourt featuring two former All-Stars in John Wall and Victor Oladipo, writes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. That guard tandem, plus well-paid reserve Eric Gordon, will need to develop chemistry and coordinate how they divvy up shooting and ball-handling duties.

Feigen notes that Wall and Oladipo could be a better defensive pair than their predecessor duos of Harden and Russell Westbrook and Harden and Chris Paul, though injuries could be an impediment to that. Both Wall and Oladipo have lengthy injury histories, and Wall is currently out with knee issues.

There’s more out of the Lone Star State:

  • Mavericks All-Star Luka Doncic and longtime head coach Rick Carlisle will have to move past the former’s noticeable frustration that the latter did not employ an available timeout during a pivotal late-game possession in Dallas’s eventual 112-109 defeat to the Bucks last Friday, as Tim MacMahon of ESPN details.
  • Backup Rockets guard Ben McLemore realizes that expectations for Houston may be lower than they were with Harden, but contends that the team has more than enough to compete, per Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston (Twitter video link). “We got guys that are gonna fight, that’s gonna compete, that’s dogs,” McLemore said.
  • Rockets GM Rafael Stone discussed the new-look club during a virtual media conference call today, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Stone explained his interest in ultimately making a trade with the Nets for James Harden. “What’s super exciting about this deal is that it gives us flexibility,” Stone said. “In the NBA, picks are the best currency. Everybody likes them, everybody values them.” Stone also mentioned that the club “will aggressively be trying to use” the $10.6MM trade exception it acquired in the transaction ahead of the 2020/21 season’s trade deadline in late March.
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17 thoughts on “Texas Notes: New Rockets Backcourt, Doncic, McLemore, Stone

  1. Sillivan

    Trade Harden $41 million salary for Oladipo and Exum $30 million

    Oladipo, Wall and Gordon have healthy issues and the salaries are about $80 million this season

    If they are 90% healthy Rockets would be 8th to 10th seed

    • washington_bonercats

      Again you’ve shown you understand nothing about NBA front offices. Oladipo and Exums contracts are up after this season. They got picks and got money off the books. Heading into next season the only hefty contracts they have are Wall, Wood, and Gordon. Consensus around the league is the Oladipo will finish the season somewhere else anyway. You’re acting like the Rockets expect to win this season. You know, after they traded James Harden for draft picks. C’mon man

  2. KnickerbockerAl

    Rockets are better off. Time to move on. Healthy Oladipo and Wall can make a nice combo. With Gordon as the third guard. That’s a solid combo. Rockets need time to regroup and see where they are. That TE can bring back a nice player. Also have Blazers pick (outside lottery). It should be a decent player next draft is deep. They can let Oladipo walk and sign a FA. Or trade him at TD. To me Rockets will need this yr to asses team and see which course to take next yr. Could always trade into lottery if they like a player that much. Best case for them is they get healthy. And start building chemistry. And look to the future.

    • Walladipo and Wood

      Or they could do a sign and trade with Oladipo if they decide not to keep him after the season and still get something decent in return.

  3. buttholesurfer69

    I doubt Wall or Oladipo are in Houston’s long term plans

    Oladipo maybe as a S+T … Wall they’ll prob just let live until they can sal dump him

  4. mcmillankmm

    Think the Rockets look to flip Oladipo at the trade deadline for controlled players? I’m guessing most likely not since they could have had Levert and Allen instead of Oladipo.

    • x%sure

      Fertitta needs Wall & Dipo to be good enough to sell tickets & merch. The trade was financially minded, getting an expiring who can be let go.

    • Jason Lancaster

      I’m not sure what the market is for Oladipo. While I’m sure lots of teams have some level of interest, he’s expecting a max deal and he’s supposedly locked in on Miami.

      Unless something changes, Houston probably can’t unload him for much unless they’re open to taking on a long term contract.

      • Agreed. Likely best case scenario is some young player who flashed a little bit of potential and a late/future first. You’d likely need Oladipo to revert to his All-NBA level or for a team to suffer a big injury to really get a decent trade package though.

        Rockets might be better off just letting Oladipo hit free agency…either the money will come off the books helping the rebuild take another step or they can S+T him to a team that missed their other trade targets/has cap space they’re just looking to spend.

  5. phillyballers

    Raise your hand if you think they deal Eric Gordon a 1st and 2 2nds for an expiring contract by the TD? Trevor Ariza coming back to Houston. Maybe Dieng, Otto Porter.

  6. The end of the Dallas / Milwaukee game was a joke – I was shouting at the screen ‘foul Giannis’. They were in the bonus and he was 1 of 10 from the line. Instead they ran the clock out and Giannis twice pump faked a three and drove for a layup and kicked out to a shooter. A wasted chance.

  7. I doubt the Rockets consider VO much more than a placeholder. If they can get something for him at the TD, then great, but I doubt they’ll take on longer term salary in any TD deal. Particularly if they use their TPE on a longer term deal at the TD. I think their goal is to get FAR away from the tax line (maybe even open up some cap space), which they’ve been stuck on since Fertitta bought the team. Signing VO at even 25-30 mm / year would put them right back there. There is always a possibility of a course correction, but I think that would need to involve more than just VO’s play.

  8. El Don

    Carlisle should just man up & apologize for getting it wrong, no use to frustrate Luka for no good reason… no matter what he saw or believed it was wrong as it doesn’t match the view of the maestro!

    • Jason Lancaster

      Carlisle has never got along great with players who like to call the plays. His problem right now is that he’s not as valuable to the Mavericks as Doncic.

      Carlisle is a great coach, but I’m not sure he’s going to last much longer in the Doncic era.

      • x%sure

        Not sure what Mavs fans think of that. That conflict has been around but I suspect the Mavs have to get farther in the playoffs for Carlisle to continue.

    • Walladipo and Wood

      An even bigger one is Jae’Sean Tate, who is on an extremely team-friendly deal for the next 3 years. It’s funny how the article says that Oladipo and Wall could be a better defensive pair than Harden and Westbrook.

      The combination of Wall and Oladipo (aka Walladipo) will make up one of the best defensive backcourts in the entire NBA. Sure there will be a drop-off on offense, but the upgrade on defense shouldn’t be overlooked. Harden and Westbrook were almost as bad defensively as Curry and Oubre are this year.

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