Rockets miss out on chance to move forward





The 2012 trade deadline came and went with a lot of Rockets fans scratching their heads.

General Manager Daryl Morey was reportedly in hot pursuit of top-flight superstars like Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard, but it seems the story hasn’t changed much. The Rockets once again didn’t land the big fish they have craved since the Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady duo fail apart.

Morey has been here for five years, with a lot of hype surrounding him, and has yet to make a significant deal. If they couldn’t have gotten the premier star they wanted this time around, they should have just blown the team up. The Rockets are an average team at best; basically every player on the team would be a role player on a championship team. They should have traded the players that don’t fit in the future, like Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Terrence Williams or Samuel Dalembert, for picks, cap space, or young talent.

Instead, Houston traded for a couple of 37-year-old veterans that will help off the bench and put us in position to get one of the bottom seeds. Why are the Rockets fighting for a seventh or eighth spot every year? This team has been in this exact spot for what seems like forever. Morey and owner Les Alexander need to come up with a new game plan. Instead of being buyers and getting all these role-playing assets to essentially be mediocre, they need to be sellers to get a shot at a lottery pick, like Austin Rivers, Anthony Davis, Jared Sullinger or Harrison Barnes.

The Rockets had chances to shoot for a higher playoff seed. They passed on the likes of Chris Kamen or Emeka Okafor. They did what they needed to do and got rid of dead weight like Jonny Flynn and Hasheem Thabeet, for they got an aging Marcus Camby when Kamen would have been an ideal fit, certainly with more scoring punch.

Houston low-balled Milwaukee in an attempt to get Andrew Bogut, who ended up in Golden State, and while Camby will help off the bench, he’s likely gone at the end of the season due to his expiring deal. His playing time this year will only take away minutes from promising youngsters like Patrick Patterson and Greg Smith.

And when I heard of the Lakers deal that followed the deal with Portland, my jaw dropped. Houston acquired one of the most hated opponents in Rockets history in Derek Fisher. Fisher, on the wrong side of 30, will always be remembered in these parts for his cheap shot on Luis Scola in the 2009 Western Conference semis.

Overall, I give Houston a C for this trade deadline. Yes they cleared bad players and got a first round pick, but there seems to have been much more left on the table. There’s no reason the underachieving Kevin Martin should still be here. I would have liked to have traded Scola to give more time for Patterson. And if the Rockets didn’t end up with Pau Gasol because they didn’t want to part with Kyle Lowry, they made a mistake. Goran Dragic has stepped up big in Lowry’s absence.

This is the perfect year to give all the younger players more playing time, especially when you’re barely alive for a playoff spot and looking at another middle-of-the-pack pick again in the draft. And the Rockets failed to do that, stunting their growth. Soon Donatas Motiejunas and Sergio Llull will be here from overseas. Hopefully the Rockets use them correctly, instead of making us wait even longer to see what they’ve got.

Either way, it’s time for Morey’s moves to pay off. Safe, reserved transactions won’t keep cutting it.