Rockets GM Rafael Stone draws national praise
Houston Rockets’ Rafael Stone speaks out on trade
On Sunday, Stone shared the details of the trade and how he went about the process of executing the deal for Harden, stating that he didn’t expect Harden to change his mind on wanting out of Houston after the request was made over the summer. In addition, he admitted that he worked with Harden to help him land to his preferred destination in Brooklyn.
#Rockets GM Rafael Stone (@RafaelStone12): on working with Harden to get him to a desired spot in Brooklyn:
"It's definitely accurate that I worked with James, and we did organizationally. We do that with all our players in every circumstance, and this was not an exception."
— Ben DuBose (@BenDuBose) January 17, 2021
This is where Stone was able to ignore the fact that the Rockets’ franchise player was disinterested in seeing what the 2020-21 Rockets could do, which certainly had to have been frustrating, as Stone constructed this version of the Rockets after all. Stone also explained that the trade gives the Rockets flexibility, as they certainly have draft picks that could be used to find another star in the NBA Draft, or that could be used to trade for a star that may be nearing the end of his deal, a la Bradley Beal.
The Rockets also netted four first-round pick swaps in the deal, which holds value, as it could land the franchise a better draft positioning for multiple years down the line. The Oladipo aspect also adds intrigue, as he could be dealt for more draft capital and/or a young franchise cornerstone, depending on whether Oladipo wants to stay in Houston or still wants to be dealt to the Miami Heat, which is what’s been reported (although he debunked those reports during his introductory press conference with the Houston Rockets on Sunday).
Regardless, Stone deserves praise for knowing what he wanted for Harden and not getting anything less in return, while also looking out for Harden and sending him to his preferred landing spot, despite Harden not exactly making things easier for the franchise. Not to mention the fact that the Rockets had other offers that may have been better that wouldn’t have sent Harden to Brooklyn.
Stone has proven that the Houston Rockets are in good hands with him at the helm, as his vision and execution have been better than anyone could have imagined thus far, and especially considering the obstacles he’s faced already.