Where are the Houston Rockets headed?
The Houston Rockets are headed for an implosion. The question is not if but when it will happen.
The team has two superstars that want to compete for titles but a roster that isn’t up to the task. Another season as the 4th seed likely won’t be enough to keep James Harden and Russell Westbrook around and they could want to jump ship over enduring another second-round exit.
The problem for the Houston front office is that a rebuild right now would be cataclysmic. The Rockets traded two first-round picks and two pick swaps to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Russell Westbrook and then another first-round pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves to snag Robert Covington.
Bottoming out now and trusting the process would only enrich other teams. The Rockets can’t start from scratch unless they want to endure a brutal stretch where all of their picks are in other teams’ hands. A rebuild of this could take close to a decade to complete.
If and when the Rockets look to move their superstars they need to be sure that they are receiving All-Star caliber players back and not just salary relief. Will it be this offseason?
Probably not, but if the Rockets don’t improve in the standings, a big ask for a team with little to no assets or salary cap space, then the summer of 2021 could see both Harden and Westbrook ask out. The Rockets should do everything in their power to prevent that day from happening but it looks near impossible at the moment.
The Rockets have been one of the most successful teams of the past five years. While they didn’t win a championship, this is the cycle of an NBA contender.
They flip future assets for present production. They take on salary and pay the luxury tax. They win a ton of games and give fans fantastic memories. And then they pay the piper.
The Rockets created the mess they’re in but every great team does. The Rockets are headed back to Earth but fans shouldn’t forget the highs of the past few seasons.