Undoubtedly, Kevin Durant will be the prize to be won this offseason. Though the Houston Rockets will probably continue to compete for that prize, their chances look bleak.
The Kevin Durant Sweepstakes has already been dominating the news in the NBA arena as of late, and free agency hasn’t even arrived yet. As the summer wears on, it will be unlikely for a bigger story to come up than where Durant ends up signing.
The former MVP and scoring champ will likely return to the Oklahoma City Thunder on a contract modeled after the one LeBron James signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers with a player option after just one season, but that won’t stop nearly every team from throwing everything they have at him.
Houston Rockets news and notes from around the web
When I say nearly every team, the Houston Rockets are no exception. It was made public weeks ago that James Harden would play recruiter to Durant and try to convince him to reunite with him in Houston. Despite the Beard’s efforts though, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein, Durant is not interested in signing with the Rockets.
Kevin Durant is one of the best shooting big men to ever step on the court, and that makes it hurt even worse if he really isn’t going to give Houston a chance. Joshua Van Horn of Space City Scoop opined on the need for the Rockets to acquire better three-point shooters before next season, given the team’s philosophy combined with Mike D’Antoni‘s offensive strategy.
What is now important is that Rockets management find a way to bring in skilled three-point shooters. If the Rockets shoot the three the same way they did last season, it doesn’t matter who the coach is.
In order for D’Antoni and the Rockets to be a good match, the Rockets will need to be a top ten three-point shooting team. For the Rockets to be a good three-point shooting team, they have to have good three-point shooters.
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Another story that could prove to be bad news for Red Nation is that, as reported by Zach Harper of CBS Sports, James Harden will not represent the USA in the 2016 Olympics. I have no problem with that in theory, but the Beard’s best season (and the Rockets’ best season in 20 years) took place after he spent the summer of 2014 playing in the FIBA world cup instead of partying with celebrities.
I’m confident that this past season’s woes will be all the motivation Harden needs to spend this summer in the gym, but the gym will probably be in Houston rather than in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Below is the statement he released yesterday:
“As a result of many difficult conversations with my family, the Rockets, and trusted advisors, I’ve notified Jerry Colangelo and Team USA that I will not be competing at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Brazil.
This decision was a painstaking one that I did not take lightly. As a member of the 2012 London Olympic Gold Medal Team, and as Team Captain for the 2014 FIBA Gold Medal Team, it goes without saying that USA Basketball has provided me with some of the most meaningful personal and professional accomplishments of my life. I have been extremely blessed to wear the “red, white, and blue” and to compete at the highest international level with the greatest players representing the greatest country in the world. I sincerely hope I’ll earn an opportunity to represent Team USA again in the future.”
With Durant off the table, perhaps the Rockets will be able to use their time more productively to lure in other free agents who could fit well with D’Antoni’s scheme. Stay tuned to Space City Scoop for any updates and opinions on those updates.
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