Although Stephen Silas finally received his opportunity to become a head coach, should the uncertainty of the Houston Rockets’ two stars be cause for concern?
For Stephen Silas, becoming a head coach was a dream come true. The 47-year-old coach has been an assistant for 20 years, as he waited and waited for his opportunity, coming close to landing the Houston Rockets‘ job in 2016, but ultimately ended up getting passed on yet again for Mike D’Antoni.
Silas expressed joy, excitement, and optimism at his introductory press conference, citing the ability to coach James Harden and Russell Westbrook as an excitement. But should the uncertainty surrounding the two stars be cause for concern for Silas?
We’ve heard this offseason that Russell Westbrook has requested a trade, citing the desire to return to his old role with the Oklahoma City Thunder, in which he was in charge of the offense. The Rockets weren’t able to identify an ideal trade for the 2016-17 MVP, as the Washington Wizards were the only discussed trade, in a deal that would have sent John Wall to the Rockets.
It had been rumored that the New York Knicks and the Charlotte Hornets had interest in Westbrook, but neither team had enough to offer the Rockets, forcing them to run it back with the star guard. James Harden reportedly also requested a trade, citing the Brooklyn Nets as his preferred destination, where he could partner up with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Rockets general manager Rafael Stone decided to hold on to Harden as well, with the goal of running it back being made official. But will Harden and Westbrook, two players who could possibly be unhappy with being “held hostage”, as many are phrasing it, be fully committed to helping the Rockets compete this season?
Or could this turn into an Anthony Davis-like situation in 2018-19, as he was missed games due to “injury”, as he pursued an exit from the New Orleans Pelicans and wasn’t granted one during the season.
Should Silas be worried about the uncertainty of the Houston Rockets’ stars?
The situation could have an impact on Silas, as the Rockets would certainly not be nearly as competitive if Harden and/or Westbrook aren’t fully committed, leading many around the league to feel for the first-time head coach, starting with the crew at Sirius XM Radio’s No Look Pass.
“This is the kind of situation, if you’re Stephen Silas, that you really don’t want to be walking into. I think by December 22nd, James Harden and Russell Westbrook may both not be in Houston.
Silas is fantastic. He deserves an opportunity, but that situation right now, it’s a disaster. The ownership has no idea what it’s doing and it’s been a revolving door with these types of players over the last few years.”
Amin El Hassan of ESPN also chimed in and shared his thoughts.
“I feel bad for him, but at the same time, it’s typical for a first time head coach. You usually don’t get a loaded roster and opportunity to compete for a championship. You usually get a terrible roster.”
Although the situation doesn’t exactly seem ideal with both of the Rockets’ best players requesting a trade, it could also be a blessing in disguise for Silas, if neither player is dealt and both players are fully bought in and give him a chance.
Will they? We’ll have to see how the season starts.