The 2016-17 season is over for everyone except the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. That means it’s offseason time for the Houston Rockets and the rest of the league.
The Houston Rockets happen to be one of those teams at home watching the Finals. Boring, right? Wrong. It is time to begin the free agent carousel since the Rockets are out of the playoffs. Better yet, they have good options. Chris Bosh will be a free agent. So will Gordon Hayward, Blake Griffin, and Chris Paul, among others.
First of all, let us establish that although Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant will be FA’s this summer, it is very hard to see them leaving the Bay Area. Houston should keep their sights set towards the more reasonable potential signees.
With all of this being said, H-town is certainly an optimal free agent destination. They have had good luck with incomers in recent years and are set to be even more successful in the near future. James Harden came to Houston in 2012 and is now a franchise player. Dwight Howard arrived in 2013 and, for a while, seemed to fit well into the offense.
Furthermore, Houston has had other small-name players come in and make noise for the Rockets. They seem to be one of those teams that welcomes new players and allow them to immediately fit in. Although there are other potential landing spots for free agents this summer, here are a couple of reasons why H-town would be best:
1. Mike D’Antoni’s offense allows any type of player to fit in
Although many teams in today’s NBA produce run-and-gun offenses that provide maximum points and offensive efficiency, the Rockets do this better than most. Furthermore, big men have an unusually strong niche in the Rockets’ quick, three-point shooting offense.
The first name that comes to mind when I think of this idea is Chris Bosh. Personally, I think Houston would be the perfect fit for Bosh if he ends up playing. Bosh is kind of similar to Ryan Anderson–a great below-the-rim presence, a decent rebounder, and can spread the floor.
Also like Ryno, CB is actually a reliable three-point shooter. Chris Bosh’s three-point percentage jumped almost immediately from below 30% to above 35% since he joined the Miami Heat. Some people might have an issue with how Chris Bosh would fit in, maybe because Houston does have other 7 footers on the bench to back up Ryno.
This should not be a legitimate issue for the Rockets. Although this is a viable claim, the other big men on the Rockets would either be traded away to obtain Bosh, and even if they stayed, Bosh has proven to fit in well with them after playing successfully alongside Hassan Whiteside in Miami.
I would jump on the opportunity to sign Bosh if Houston has a chance to trade for him. But all in all, the Rockets way of doing things, particularly on offense and with their style of play, makes Houston terrific for any free agent.
2. James Harden has revolutionized himself as a player who makes other players better.
People always emphasize how LeBron James makes his players better when they talk about him. At this point, Harden has also bettered his game in his recent MVP-like season to the point where the other players on his roster also seem to have improved.
Consider Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon. When they played with a superstar in Anthony Davis along with other capable guys, they either missed the postseason or got bounced in the first round. In their first year with Harden, they finished with the third best record in the league. Not a coincidence.
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The Rockets thrived this year off of one superstar surrounded by role players. If they can score an All-Star this offseason or even a role player with system-oriented offense experience, they’ll be even better next season.
Houston also has no state income tax. This is another great advantage to any player that signs with Houston. It is nice to know you will not have an unfair tax dent in your paycheck when you earn millions of dollars via contract.
H-town is an excellent community that supports its team. Red Nation is also equally ready for any newcomers to their culture-induced team. There are some exciting free agents up and coming this summer, and it looks like H-town will be a good option for those planning to pack their bags.
It’s incredible how quickly the aura in Houston changed. This time last year, James Harden was a ball hog. Now he’s one of the most coveted teammates in the league. That should bode well for the Rockets.