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DeMarcus Cousins joins the Warriors: What it means for the Rockets

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 11: DeMarcus Cousins #0 of the New Orleans Pelicans plays defense against Nene Hilario #42 of the Houston Rockets on December 11, 2017 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 11: DeMarcus Cousins #0 of the New Orleans Pelicans plays defense against Nene Hilario #42 of the Houston Rockets on December 11, 2017 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
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DeMarcus Cousins agreed to a one-year deal with the Golden State Warriors. Here’s what it means for the Houston Rockets.

Last season, the Rockets were one half away from going to the NBA Finals. Even without Chris Paul, they had an opportunity to close out Golden State at home in Game 7, but they just couldn’t buy any shots.

The plan for the offseason was to re-sign Paul and Clint Capela and begin once again at the bottom of the mountain with hopes they would be standing on the top by next June. Unfortunately, that proverbial mountain just got a lot taller.

DeMarcus Cousins threw a wrench in every team’s plans by signing a one-year, $5.3 million deal, according to Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania. Yes, the Warriors signed the league’s best center when healthy using the taxpayer’s mid-level exception.

Boogie suffered a torn achilles last season, which is an injury that has slowed down many careers, including Kobe Bryant‘s. Factor in his sometimes explosive and unpredictable personality, and its easy to see why Cousins wasn’t offered any big contracts from potential suitors.

The Warriors had a mid-level exception available, so Cousins joined the defending champions with hopes that a championship would boost his stock in next year’s free agency. Cousins might get a ring plus a potential max deal by this time next year. Smart move.

What it means for the Rockets

While the rich have gotten richer in the Bay Area, Houston has yet to make any big moves. As expected, they re-signed Paul. There’s also a high chance that Houston will retain Clint Capela. But the Rockets lost Trevor Ariza to the Phoenix Suns which definitely hurts the team, at least until they find a solid replacement.

Related Story: Rockets interested in trading for Wilson Chandler

The Golden State Warriors now have five All-Stars, one at each position. With Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins, the Warriors have three players that averaged at least 25 points the season before. Oh, and they also have two other All-Stars and elite defenders in Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. Golden State has an unprecedented level of firepower.

Even with LeBron James on the Lakers, the Rockets are still the second best team in the NBA. But in order to compete with a healthy Golden State team in the postseason, they’ll have to add some talent.

There’s a good chance that Clint Capela takes another step forward next year, but that isn’t enough. The Rockets need to figure out how they can trade for another star. Kevin Love will probably be available as Cleveland is at the beginning of a rebuild. Jimmy Butler, who is reportedly frustrated with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins could be on the move as well.

Next: Should the Rockets propose a trade for Kevin Love?

The bottom line is this; the Rockets have to get better before next season’s trade deadline or they won’t make the 2019 NBA Finals, unless health plays a role in Golden State’s demise. Currently, there is no clear path on how to slay this ultra-juggernaut in Golden State. But if they want a shot at competing, the Rockets better figure something out fast.

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