The latest sign that the Rockets can't have nice things
Throughout the Houston Rockets' rebuild, they've had several moments that would make one wonder whether the basketball gods are against the franchise. For example, the Rockets haven't landed the top pick in the NBA Draft lottery since 2002, despite having the worst record in two of the last three years.
Granted, it's landed them Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr., two pillars and leaders of the Rockets' future, so that worked out well. But the Rockets ultimately wanted and expected to land Paolo Banchero, the eventual Rookie of the Year, at number three, and he expected the same.
And we don't even need to get into the fateful injury that Chris Paul suffered in the 2018 Western Conference Finals, which shattered the Rockets' hopes of making it past the superteam Golden State Warriors. On Wednesday the Rockets were dealt another major blow when the All-NBA teams were announced, as one particular selection had a heavy impetus on the Rockets' ability to morph into a contender overnight.
Why can't the Rockets have nice things?
The Rockets were rumored to have had interest in Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown, who played under newly-hired Rockets coach Ime Udoka during Udoka's lone season with the Boston Celtics. Brown and the C's were in a quandary, as he had one year left on his $106 million rookie extension that was given to him in 2019.
The Celtics benefited greatly from Brown being named to one of the three All-NBA teams, as it would allow him them to offer a five-year supermax extension worth $295 million. This is because of the league's criterion for supermax deals, which states that a player becomes eligible for the deal if they have completed seven years of experience, at minimum, and qualify for one of the All-NBA teams in either their final year of the rookie extension or the year before said year.
With Brown in his seventh season, it's a lock that the C's are going to give him the supermax. They surely don't want to lose out on a star player, as they'd be hard-pressed to find someone better than Brown, who is one of the best two-way players in the league at just age 26, not to mention the fact that Brown can drop 30 points essentially whenever he wants to.
The Rockets will have to go back to the drawing board and figure out who to spend their league-leading $60 million in cap space on.