18 people who turned their back on the Houston Rockets franchise

NBA All-Star Game 2016
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3. Kevin McHale

The Rockets, under Kevin McHale, seemed like one of the up-and-coming young teams. They were led by James Harden, who was in his early 20s and was trying to break out of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant's shadow. 

And they could score, as they hoisted an avalanche of 3-pointers. The Rockets went from the eighth seed in the West in 2012-13 to the fourth seed in 2013-14 to the second seed in 2014-15, as the team reached the Western Conference Finals, before falling to the hands of the Golden State Warriors in a gentleman's sweep.

The following year saw an entirely different McHale, as he first called James Harden, the franchise player, fat and out of shape. And after a 4-7 start in 2015-16, McHale was let go.

Since then, McHale has taken shots at the franchise on multiple occasions, starting with his criticism of the Rockets' longtime analytical approach. 

“You guys are caught up a little bit in Houston on numbers. Numbers do not win games. The one number that wins the game is if you have one more point than the other team. That’s the biggest number."

McHale continued. 

"Look at how Kawhi Leonard won the championship with Toronto last year. 15 and 18 footers, getting fouled, and posting up. He didn’t just shoot 3’s.”

McHale picked the Rockets to lose to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the opening round of the 2020 playoffs, held in the bubble. 

"The small ball of Houston is really interesting, I’ve watched that, and I just don’t know. They get outrebounded and I just think you’ve got to play big guys."

McHale also took a victory lap during the recent feud between Daryl Morey and James Harden, citing his experience with both as a predictor for their eventual divorce.