Houston Rockets: 4 worst transactions made by Rafael Stone

Brooklyn Nets v Houston Rockets
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1. The Victor Oladipo saga

The James Harden trade saga in 2020-21 took a number of twists and turns. As we've come to find out, James Harden's franchise exits are always event-filled, which is being played out right now in Philadelphia. 

It was initially reported that Harden was willing to ride it out with the Rockets, after the franchise traded Westbrook for John Wall, based on the belief that Harden preferred playing alongside Wall due to his playing style. Around the same time, it was reported that Harden wanted to join Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving with the Brooklyn Nets, as Harden and Durant had been training together all summer in southern California.

After skipping training camp, Harden eventually took the court for the Rockets and looked outer-worldly in the Rockets' 2020-21 season opener, dropping 44 points and 17 assists in a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. Harden remained firm in his desire to leave the Space City and was eventually dealt to the Nets, in a deal that landed the Rockets a historic haul of draft picks (three first-round picks in 2022, 2024, and 2026) and additional draft capital (four first-round pick swaps in 2021, 2023, 2025, and 2027).

The Rockets passed on Jarrett Allen, and flipped Caris LeVert and a future second-round pick for Victor Oladipo. Which was the head-scratcher.

Not getting Allen and LeVert were understandable. I even said it at the time.

Getting Oladipo made less sense. For starters, Oladipo was coming off of major injuries to his lower extremities, which saw him play just 54 games in the previous two seasons combined.

Oladipo was entering 2020-21 hoping to show that he still had the skill and talent that once made him an All-NBA guard. The Indiana product wasn't quite the same player for the Pacers, and he was in a contract year. 

Besides, the Rockets were supposed to be blowing it up and rebuilding. Remember, they had just dealt two All-NBA guards.

The focus should've been on acquiring draft capital and/or young prospects. Not 28-year-old has-been's.

The Rockets even offered Oladipo a two-year contract extension worth $45 million, which he rejected. Rockets fans should still be thanking Oladipo for rebuffing the offer, while he should be kicking himself for the decision. 

The Rockets ultimately dealt Oladipo to the Miami Heat after 20 games, acquiring Kelly Olynyk, who was also on an expiring deal and ultimately left the franchise at the conclusion of the season.