The Houston Rockets came into the season with high expectations, and that led to some understandable frustration after an early playoff exit.
Chris Paul and James Harden are both All-Star level players who haven’t won a championship, and with that comes pressure as they both grow older and their window to claim a title closes.
General manager Daryl Morey is confident in his team, though, he and plans to add a third superstar by any means necessary this summer. He claims that Paul hasn’t asked for a trade and that the tension between his two superstars is good for the franchise.
“We have two high-level competitors, Chris and James,” Morey said to ESPN. “Who their only goal in life at this point is to win the title. They’ve accomplished everything else, they are both going to be first-ballot Hall of Famers. Two competitive superstars at that level, there [are] going to be times when they are extremely competitive, extremely focused on how do we get to that next level, and when we don’t there’s going to be frustration. I’m frustrated, our top players are frustrated.”
That doesn’t exactly sound like positive creative tension. Harden apparently just wants CP3 to stay out of his way on offense and spot up in the corner, which didn’t exactly work in the last two postseasons. The situation seems to be that Paul isn’t happy, and neither is last year’s league MVP.
The Rockets also have drama with head coach Mike D’Antoni, and next year might be his last hurrah with this team. Contract extension talks broke down earlier this summer after Houston offered him a performance-based extension.
D’Antoni didn’t like that so much.
He’ll be able to find another job; however, he’s still trying to win his first championship as well.
You can bet that Morey will make one or two big moves this summer, but picking up Carmelo Anthony last summer didn’t exactly come out smelling like roses.
The Rockets have lost to the Golden State Warriors in the past two postseasons, and they might not have to worry about them anymore. However, the Los Angeles Lakers are putting something together that could be special, and wherever Kawhi Leonard goes will be an instant contender as well. Darryl Morey has his work cut out for him because the Harden-Paul relationship might have run its course.