Houston Rockets: The Rockets’ 5-step rebuild plan to contention

James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets Houston Rockets general manaer Rafeal Stone (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets Houston Rockets general manaer Rafeal Stone (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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General Manager Neil Olshey of the Portland Trail Blazers speaks with General Manager Rafael Stone of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
General Manager Neil Olshey of the Portland Trail Blazers speaks with General Manager Rafael Stone of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Houston Rockets haven’t come out and said they’re in a rebuild but all the evidence points towards a team that is well on its way to tearing everything down and building from the bottom up. The Rockets’ stealth rebuild began as soon as the team was eliminated from the playoffs by the Los Angeles Lakers.

The first pillar that fell was Mike D’Antoni not signing an extension to stay on as the Rockets’ head coach. It’s unknown if this was a mutual parting but when a playoff team doesn’t extend their head coach that’s never a good sign and it’s made even worse when that coach signs on to an assistant coach somewhere else.

The next step for the Rockets was when Daryl Morey decided to walk away after 13 years at the helm of the franchise only to sign on to run the Philadelphia 76ers. In many ways, Morey and D’Antoni’s decisions to walk away from the Rockets only to immediately go to another franchise signals that they might have seen the writing on the wall.

The Houston Rockets rebuild was always coming

With the two architects of the Rockets’ most successful teams since the mid-1990s, the franchise started their rebuild in earnest. They moved Robert Covington and Russell Westbrook in the offseason for picks and signed an unknown young player named Christian Wood to a three-year deal.

Then, after the season had gotten underway, they traded away one of the world’s best players, James Harden, for a massive return of draft picks and Victor Oladipo, who is on an expiring contract. Every move the Rockets have made since the playoffs have been to tear down the team that made the playoffs eight consecutive seasons and acquire players and assets for the future.

The Rockets rebuild is underway and should only accelerate in the coming months and years. No fanbase likes to watch their team burn it all down and try to rebuild from the ashes but the Rockets looked prepared to do just that.

The painful years don’t have to last forever and the Rockets are already well on their way. This is the Rockets’ five-step rebuild plan and how it’ll get them back into contention.

Next: Step 1

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