The Houston Rockets had a bad week.
They thought they got exactly what they needed to become the NBA’s next super team when LeBron James broke up the Miami Big-3 and signed with Cleveland.
But then the floor fell out from under them, and they are now worse off than they were when the offseason began.
Here’s how the dominoes fell for the Rockets in all the wrong ways.
1. The Rockets let Chandler Parsons become a restricted free agent.
The Rockets declined the 2014-15 team option on Parsons’s contract. Picking up the option would have brought Parsons back to Houston for just $US964,750, but it also would have allowed him to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Instead, the Rockets were hoping to sign Parsons to a long-term deal at a cheaper price than what he would have commanded next summer, and felt they would have been able to match any offer Parsons received from another team.
2. The Rockets thought they had a commitment from Chris Bosh if LeBron left Miami.
With the possibility of James leaving the Heat seemingly growing by the day, Bosh began negotiations with the Rockets as a back-up plan. It was made clear that Bosh still wanted to return to Miami, and sacrifice as much as $US30 million, but only if James returned too.
If James signed with the Cavs, it was reported that Bosh was committed to signing a 4-year, $US88 million contract with the Rockets, joining Dwight Howard, James Harden, and Chandler Parsons as “The Big 4.”
3. The Dallas Mavericks offered Chandler Parsons a huge contract.
In the NBA it is great to be a restricted free agent because if a team really wants you, they have to overpay to get you. That’s what happened when the Mavericks offered Parsons a three-year contract worth $US46 million.
It was the worst-case scenario for the Rockets. The Rockets could still land Parsons and Bosh, but for salary cap reasons they needed to sign Bosh first and then match the Parsons offer. Under NBA rules, Houston had just 72 hours to match Dallas’s offer or Parsons was gone.
Meanwhile, James had still not made his decision.
4. LeBron signed with Cleveland, so Houston traded Jeremy Lin to create cap space.
Once LeBron announced his decision, the Rockets pulled the trigger on a trade to clear cap space so they could sign Bosh, sending Jeremy Lin and two draft picks to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey explained that they had to make the move before a 100% commitment from Bosh because the Lakers did not want to wait. As a result, the Rockets lost Lin and two draft picks (including a first-round pick next year) for cap space they didn’t end up using.
5. Bosh re-signed with the Heat.
When James made his decision to join the Cavs, that finally opened the door for Bosh to sign the reported $US88-million contract with Houston.
Instead, Bosh negotiated a five-year, $US118 million deal to stay with the Heat.
It was a huge shocker.
In the end, the Rockets may not have anticipated that the Heat would get desperate and offer Bosh a five-year max contract that they couldn’t match.
6. The Rockets lost Parsons to Dallas.
Once Bosh was out of the picture, the Rockets decided the price for Parsons would kill their ability to land a third superstar in the future. They declined to match the Dallas offer, attempts to negotiate a sign-and-trade with the Mavs failed.
Instead of having Parsons on the team with a salary of less than $US1 million (which they could have done by picking up his team option), the Rockets lost one of their best players to a division rival and got nothing in return.
In less than a week, the Rockets went from a strong belief that they were going to keep Parsons, add Bosh, and be the NBA’s next super team to a team that lost Bosh, Parsons, Lin, and a first-round pick, and received almost nothing in return.
That’s a bad week.
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