5 Players the Houston Rockets gave up on a bit too early

Should the Houston Rockets have waived Isaiah Hartenstein?
Should the Houston Rockets have waived Isaiah Hartenstein? / Sarah Stier/GettyImages
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4. Moses Malone

You may love your team. It's owners still have to make business decisions. Sometimes, business gets in the way of building the best possible team.

That's why the Rockets traded Moses Malone to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Caldwell Jones and a first-round pick ahead of the 1982-83 season. Caldwell who? Exactly. The Rockets didn't want to pay Malone's upcoming contract extension, and effectively dumped him.

Malone would lead the Sixers to an NBA title in his first year with the team. That shouldn't have come as a shock to the Rockets. He'd won a regular season MVP during his time with them, and led the team to the Finals in 1981.

How could ownership have been so frugile? Malone was worth every penny that the Sixers gave him. Sometiimes, owners don't understand how valuable one player can be.

On that note...

5. Chris Paul

Malone may be the most consequential fumble in Rockets history. Still, fans of the modern day Rockets are still feeling the effects of the trade that sent Chris Paul to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

After all, the Rockets will send their pick to the Thunder this summer unless it lands in the top-4 as a consequence of that trade. Trading Paul for an ill-fitting Westbrook may have been the death knell of the Harden era. How did this happen?

Well, Paul struggled in 2018-19. By all accounts, ownership noticed. Eventually, Paul would have a resurgence on the Thunder, and he was a huge part of a 2020-21 NBA Finals run with the Phoenix Suns.

It seems the Rockets gave up on him a little too early.