Houston Rockets executive Rafael Stone has been met with turbulence in his first foray into his post as Rockets GM. Stone inherited the franchise at a time in which the team was hitting the reset button, leaving him with the responsibility of choosing where to send the team’s key players.
Stone had a rather unique approach towards getting rid of the players that wanted out, as he opted to send them all to their preferred destinations of choice. James Harden was sent to the Brooklyn Nets, which is a place he had been eyeing since the summer, and Russell Westbrook was sent to the Washington Wizards, re-uniting him with former coach Scott Brooks and pairing him with Bradley Beal, which Westbrook reportedly wanted to do as well.
The list goes on, including the decision to send P.J. Tucker to the Milwaukee Bucks, which he admitted was his top landing spot, and the decisions to waive DeMarcus Cousins and Ben McLemore, allowing them to each identify the best opportunities for themselves as unrestricted free agents.
Cousins has since signed with the LA Clippers, who rank third in the Western Conference and McLemore has signed with the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. But why cater to a player’s demands when they aren’t going to be with the team anyways?
How JJ Redick’s comments illustrate one thing the Houston Rockets are doing right
Especially when the player is giving up on the team, as in Harden’s case. While the idea of playing “nice guy” may rub many within the fanbase the wrong way, there are clear perks and benefits of such a tactic.
Why don’t we take a look at the alternative approach of sending a player wherever it best suits the franchise, which is exactly what former Rockets GM Daryl Morey used to commonly do?
Morey and the Rockets developed a sour reputation among players around the league, as Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Paul were all very vocal about their dealings with the Rockets’ front office and made sure to vocalize that they felt they had been exposed to bad business dealings with the Rockets’ front office.
This is very similar to what J.J. Redick had to say about getting traded to the Dallas Mavericks, despite being led to believe that he would be dealt somewhere closer to his family, who lives in the Northeast.
Next: Redick speaks