5. Morey wasn’t looking to load up on assets
Morey wasn’t necessarily accumulating assets either. When Morey traded T-Mac and Yao retired, he didn’t seem willing to trade all the veterans and start over with tons of cap space and draft picks.
He did his best every year to try and keep the Rockets look as entertaining to the fans as possible. This became more clear when Harden arrived in Houston.
Morey invested what he could to try and surround Harden with the team he felt was the best fit, and as Harden got older, Morey had invested more and more into him. He was essentially handing out first round draft picks like they were blunts towards the later years, and cap space was near the top nearly every year.
Morey was willing to trade 4 first rounders for Jimmy Butler and he ended up trading two firsts and 2 pick swaps for Russell Westbrook. Sometimes Morey traded first rounders for veterans he believed could contribute (Ty Lawson for example), and other times he was willing to trade them away for salary relief (a-la Ryan Anderson).
Yes, this sounds bad at first. This is a strong reason why the Houston Rockets are struggling today without a doubt.
Though, to be fair, this is what a team is supposed to do when a team has a top 5 player like James Harden. It’s essentially implied that you go all in to try and build the best team possible, and this was a step Morey was more than willing to take as Harden continued to grow.
If Stone ever ends up with a player that is anywhere near Harden’s level, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the same thing from him. At this rate, Stone would definitely have the assets to get it done.
But in the meantime, Stone’s strategy of accumulating assets has been interesting to watch so far, especially since it’s a process that wasn’t involved in the Rockets franchise for over a decade.
Next: No. 4