Coming into the 2018-19 NBA season, the Houston Rockets were one of the favorites to win an NBA title. In 2017-18, the Rockets won 65 games and had the best record in the NBA. Houston had the Warriors down 3-2 in the Western Conference Finals, but unfortunately, Chris Paul injured his hamstring in Game 5, and ultimately, the Warriors would defeat the Rockets in 7.
Last season, it was the complete opposite. The Warriors’ Kevin Durant went out in Game 5 with an injured calf, but the Rockets still could not get past the Warriors as they lost in 6 in Western Conference semifinals.
Recently, reports surfaced that Paul and James Harden were having issues with each other and that Paul wanted out of Houston, but according to Paul, he wants to stay with the Rockets. Yesterday, according to the Houston Chronicle, Rockets GM Daryl Morey had this to say at the 3rd Annual NBA Awards:
“I think we’re going to have our starting five, plus a top-level mid-level. Maybe we’ll do better than that,” Morey said. “We’re going to be the favorites in the West, for sure. We were the best team down the stretch with that group, and that’s without adding one more quality player like we’re going to do. Most teams are scrambling to keep their starting unit together. We got ours next year.”
Also, according to the Houston Chronicle, Morey stated that the reports of Paul and Harden not getting along are false.
“That’s definitely not true,” Morey said. “It’s been the strangest part of my career with the media. There have been times we deserve terrible coverage. It’s not now. The discussion should be we are favorites next year and let people beat that up. That’s been really strange for me. It just started and kept going.
Last week, at the 12th Annual Steve Nash Foundation Showdown, ESPN’s Amin Elhassan gave his thoughts on Paul and the Rockets.
“It’s weird because Chris Paul is known to wear people out, and I’m surprised whenever people are surprised by that notion,” Elhassan told Paul Gant. “He wears people out, and so the problem for Houston is if indeed come to the point where they have to trade him: his contract, age, and injury history make it difficult to trade him for value, to get good players in return or to get good contracts in return, or to do without giving up good stuff like picks. If that happens, you gotta say to yourself, okay, does Houston have the appetite to trade him, and understand that we’re not gonna get better in the short run. It remains to be seen.”
The Rockets can do some big things in the Western Conference, especially with the Warriors possibly in transition. Because of the situation with Golden State, all the contending teams should go in big next season, and according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Rockets are looking to go after Jimmy Butler in a possible sign-and-trade with the 76ers, so if that happens, the Rockets will definitely be a formidable team next season, and will most definitely be one of the favorites next season.
Listen to the complete interview with Elhassan below: