The Houston Rockets and general manager Daryl Morey went all-in for a superstar this summer and came away empty-handed.
In a new article on the Rockets, the Dallas Mavericks, and Chandler Parsons, ESPN’s Marc Stein gives a behind-the-scenes look at how the summer unfolded for Houston.
Morey told Stein that at one point he thought he had a 95% chance of achieving his “dream scenario” — a super-team of James Harden, Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, and Chandler Parsons.
Instead, he missed on Bosh, Parsons went to Dallas on a monster deal, and the Rockets were stuck going into 2014-15 with more roster uncertainty than last year.
It all began with the Rockets’ decision not to pick up forward Parsons’ 2014-15 contract option — a meager $US964,750 salary — and let him hit the restricted free agency market. The Rockets were trying to clear as much cap room as possible to find a third star, which Daryl Morey finds integral to becoming an NBA champion.
After missing out on Carmelo Anthony, Morey’s plan was to offer Chris Bosh a four-year maximum deal to join James Harden and Dwight Howard. After he had Bosh’s signature, he was going to match Dallas’ offer for Parsons, keeping him in Houston.
He told Stein that he thought the dream scenario was going to happen. From ESPN:
“The Rockets’ dream scenario, cemented on July 11 once LeBron reinvented himself as a Cav, was creating enough salary-cap space to sign Bosh to a four-year max deal and then, with all of their flexibility happily spent on a Harden-Howard-Bosh triumvirate, going the very pricey route of matching Dallas’ offer sheet to Parsons to create a full-fledged super-team.
“‘Given our understanding of where things were,’ Morey said recently, ‘we felt like we were 95 per cent-plus to potentially having the best team in the league. There was nothing promised, but I did believe [Bosh] was coming in almost every scenario except the one that happened at the last minute [Miami trumping Houston’s offer with a five-year max].'”
As Morey mentions, the Miami Heat swooped in and gave Bosh a five-year, $US118 million contract, which kept the power forward in South Beach. Meanwhile, the Dallas Mavericks put the onus on the Rockets to decide Parsons’ future by offering him a three-year, $US46 million offer, which the Rockets either had to match or decline. They declined, knowing that Parsons’ now-giant salary would keep them from ever adding a third star.
The Rockets would have immediately had one of the best starting lineups in the NBA, featuring Harden, Parsons, Bosh, and Howard. But their plans fell through, and in turn, they had to make a series of smaller moves to replace the players they lost while trying to clear cap space to sign Bosh.
The Rockets still believe they can find a third star to join Howard and Harden and it’s possible with the NBA’s rising salary cap, but they took a major hit this summer.
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