4 free agents the Rockets pursued but were unable to land

2020 NBA Finals - Game Five
2020 NBA Finals - Game Five / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages
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1. LeBron James

The 2017-18 Houston Rockets broke essentially every franchise record, as they went 65-17 and finished with the best record in the league. The Rockets came eerily close to defeating the superteam Golden State Warriors, but Chris Paul's injury thwarted any chance of that happening in the 2018 Western Conference Finals.

The Rockets knew they needed an additional piece, based on the construction of the Warriors (Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Steph Curry, Draymond Green). LeBron James happened to be a free agent in the summer of 2018 and was long-time friends with Chris Paul, who had joined the Rockets in the previous offseason via trade.

Unfortunately, James didn't have much interest in joining Houston and signed a four-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.

James never gave serious consideration to the Rockets, as he wasn't fond of the city of Houston, according to Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal.

“I think the teams that have been mentioned (76ers, Cavaliers, Lakers, Rockets) are desirable places to live. But I will tell you this, I heard this from his own lips when we were in Houston this season. He does not like Houston as a city. So, that would require him moving to a place that he’s not crazy about.”

Granted, the Rockets would've had to manuever the cap to create enough cap space for James, especially after the $160 million contract extension to Chris Paul and the $100 million extension to Clint Capela.

But there's little doubt that Daryl Morey wouldn't have been able to pull it off, as the Rockets were in the same quandary before acquiring Paul and still pulled it off.