What will the Rockets look like next season?
As you may recall, Daryl Morey said last week that he has something up his sleeve to counter the Warriors’ dominance. This past season, the best shot of the Houston Rockets at beating a team with 4 All-Stars and 3 of the greatest shooters of all time was to accumulate a collection of high-variance shooters around James Harden and hope for the best. While that took us to the Western Conference Semifinals, a position most teams envy, it still was clearly not enough.
Thankfully, there are some avenues to take this offseason. With Paul George definitely leaving the Pacers in free agency after next season, they are understandably trying to trade him to get some value. When Daryl Morey talked raising the team’s risk profile to compete, this is the sort of thing he had in mind. If Houston trades for George, there is no guarantee that he will stay. In fact, the narrative coming out of George’s inner circle is that he is a rental regardless of who trades for him, given his long-stated desire to eventually end up in LA.
Paul George can help lure CP3 to the Houston Rockets
In my opinion, Morey needs to make this trade. In a league dominated by a superteam the likes of which we have not seen in the modern era, taking a risk is necessary to succeed. Sure, we could trade for Paul George and watch him run home to LakerLand in a year. That possibility alone is enough to deter many fans from the idea of this trade. However, he could also come to Houston, help James Harden lure Chris Paul in free agency and create a formidable superteam to challenge Golden State. If George left a Big 3 of himself, Harden, and CP3 in order to play with a young and mediocre Lakers team, then winning is clearly not his main priority. Even in that scenario, we would have enough cap space to make a run at another free agent in 2018.
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What a trade might look like
So, what can we offer Indiana? It’s important to remember the nature of the situation – since George has effectively killed his trade value by labeling himself as a “rental,” the market is depressed at the moment. In my thinking, a package including some combination of Eric Gordon, Sam Dekker/Montrezl Harrell, and some combination of draft picks might be enough. This may seem like a lot to give up, but the possibility of pairing Harden with Paul George is too much to pass up. Also, the longer that Indiana waits to trade PG, the less his value is.
With the draft happening tonight, we should see some action happening. Paul George will likely be on another team after today, maybe (hopefully) to the Rockets. The addition of George will make Houston and even more attractive free agent location.