Houston Rockets: Kevin Durant Should Not Come to Clutch City
By Coty Davis
Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant is scheduled to enter free agency next summer, and without a doubt every team in the league will enter the “Durantula Sweepstakes.” Durant will have more teams knocking on his door than LeBron James‘ free agency in 2010.
Among the teams who are hoping to sign the 2014 MVP are the Houston Rockets. This past week, the Rockets made some headlines after confirming they will do everything in their power to sign Durant next summer.
Although, it would be nice to see Durant teaming up with James Harden and Dwight Howard in Houston, it is not a good idea to bring him in. Now before getting all rowdy and angry, consider how much the Rockets would give up if they sign Durant.
Even though the Rockets will have the money to sign Durant, chances are Houston will lose most of their core players in the process or conversely have to become a luxury tax paying team.
James Harden, Dwight Howard, and Ty Lawson absorb 59 percent of the Rockets salary cap this season. Next year the Rockets’ guaranteed contracts will add up to $76.36 million dollars, and if Howard decides to pick up his player option he will make over $23.3 million next season.
With just these three players, Houston with have just $12.64 million left to spend next season. Therefore, this is not good for a player who is scheduled to take 30 percent of the cap, whoever he signs with next season. If the Rockets do have a shot at signing the four-time NBA scoring champ, it will be an expensive proposition in more ways than financially as Houston would have to get rid of several contracts to create enough cap room.
Logically that means saying goodbye to guys like Patrick Beverley, Trevor Ariza, and Corey Brewer who are the next three highest paid players on the team. As for Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas, they should start negotiations with other NBA teams now (though legally they can’t) since they have no chance at returning to Houston.
If Durant’s next destination is Houston, say goodbye to five core contributors. Yea, Durant is a superstar talent, but he is not worth giving up five players who have played significant roles over the past three seasons. Not only will Durant’s signing cause the loss of core players, but it will also negatively affect the team’s chemistry.
Everyone wants to become Batman, but no one wants to be Robin. Yeah, it worked for Dwyane Wade and LeBron James in Miami, but do not expect the same sacrifice in Houston. If Durant were to sign in Houston, the Rockets would likely have some confrontation with their top two superstars.
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James Harden is no longer considered the “Young Manu Ginobili,” and playing behind Durant will not be as easy as it was his first three years in OKC. Harden is now one of the elite players in the league, and the Rockets are his team.
With only one ball to share, Durant or Harden would have to sacrifice their touches in order to win. Safe to say when healthy Durant is the better player, so unfortunately Harden will no longer be Houston’s go to player.
Oh, and do not forget the Rockets’ will still have to find a way to get the league’s best big man his touches. Dwight Howard has a history of not playing defense when he is not getting enough touches on the offensive end.
Having a big three of Durant, Harden, and Howard looks good on paper, but in reality there’s a huge possibly no player will benefit from Durant’s signing. With $12.64 million to spend next season, the Rockets should use that money to bring in additional veteran players that have the ability to help them conquer their two major weaknesses: perimeter defense and rebounding.
So don’t get overly excited when hearing rumors about Kevin Durant signing with the Rockets. Besides, not all super teams have lived up to their expectations, just ask Dwight Howard about the 2013 Los Angele Lakers and how that worked out.
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