We’ll have to wait a little longer to find out what Rockets general manager Daryl Morey thinks about the joint ruling made by the NBA and NBPA on Nene‘s incentive-heavy contract, a ruling which will reduce his trade value and essentially invalidate some creative cap work by Houston’s front office.
Before that ruling was reported though, Morey sat down with Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle to answer some other questions about the Rockets’ offseason and the upcoming 2019/20 season.
Feigen’s Q&A with the team’s top decision-maker is worth checking out in full, but here are a few of Morey’s most interesting comments from the discussion:
On whether Morey believes the Rockets will enter the season as the Western Conference favorites:
“Yes. We’re favorites. But as usual, there is some very tough competition: Clippers, Lakers, Utah. Then I’d say people are probably underrating Golden State still. We have a healthy respect for them. But we go in shooting for the No. 1 seed.”
On whether or not the Rockets have a “load management” plan in mind for their stars:
“I think there is a good chance you’ll see some guys resting when healthy. It all depends on the context of the season. If we start 7-11 again, I don’t think there’ll be a lot of resting. We’ll be battling for the playoffs. Everything is contextual. We need at all times to be looking at the ultimate goal of wining a title and what is the best decision. That’s why we don’t like to have any hard and fast rules. I don’t think that’s pragmatic.”
On whether the Rockets are interested in working out a contract extension with P.J. Tucker, who has two years left on his current deal:
“We’re open to the concept of extensions early. We have done it with players in the past. Normally, it’s the James Harden-type players. We’re open to it. That said, I have found you don’t really get to an agreement with what both sides are looking at to how the extension can work realistically until you are one year out. I wouldn’t expect any other extension from us this year, mostly because everyone is signed for multiple years.
On whether the Rockets, who have 18 players under contract, will make more additions:
“We’re going to have 20 going into camp. We can only keep 17 (including players on two-way contracts). Right now, we have nine fully guaranteed. I think we do have more roster opportunity than any team in the league at least for the back end of the rotation or guys that might come in if we take an injury.”
On whether Rockets ownership is willing to pay the tax:
“I’ve been authorized to do what it takes to win a title. … I would expect we’ll be over the tax at some point.”