Rumors were swirling around the internet on Wednesday when it was reported that the Rockets will be aggressive this offseason, making available nearly the entire roster for trades. Two of the league's most respected reporters, Marc Stein and Adrian Wojnarowski, tweeted the reports.
Clint Capela is among the players Houston has gauged the market for in recent days, league sources https://t.co/w6H91QzpdD— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) May 29, 2019
As Wojnarowski says, it is unlikely any of the potential players involved in a deal would include James Harden, but leaving him off the list, that would include Chris Paul, Clint Capela and Eric Gordon, three key contributors to the team the last two years. Paul, in particular, would be a surprising move both from the standpoint of his exorbitant contract and because he was brought in to be the missing piece alongside Harden.
It has been reported in recent days that Paul had groused to coach Mike D'Antoni about the need to diversify the offense from one featuring isolation basketball with Harden running the show to a more free-flowing style D'Antoni ran with great success in Phoenix.
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Regardless, a deal to move Paul would be extremely difficult given the size of his contract. But, deals involving Capela, who signed a five-year $90 million contract last July, and Gordon, who will be a free agent after next season, seem far more feasible. What they might bring in return is debatable, but it is clear the Rockets aren't going to be sitting still this offseason.
Additionally, the fact that they are open at this point in the offseason means the draft, which is just under a month away, is in play. The Rockets do not have a pick in this year's draft, having traded them in previous deals. They are also strapped for cash under the league's salary cap. For them to make any moves of consequence absolutely involves trading players and there are really only a handful of guys under contract with the team who would attract the attention of potential partners.
The draft, however, is considered much weaker than previous years and the Rockets are unlikely to move into the top 10. And even if they did, they know they aren't going to win a title by surrounding Harden with youngsters. Still, they also aren't winning with an aging roster full of solid if unspectacular veterans.
At the moment, it appears everything is on the table for the Rockets. And, let's be honest, it probably should be.