- It is probably safe to say the Rockets' offseason has not gone as planned. After the loss of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute, their pursuit of Carmelo Anthony just adds on to a weird summer.
The Houston Rockets' offseason has been kind of a downer of sorts. While Golden State got better with the addition of DeMarcus Cousins, the Rockets have failed to add a significant piece to go alongside centerpieces James Harden and newly re-signed Chris Paul. Any possible pursuit of LeBron James and Paul George ended quickly. Clint Capela's free agency is still ongoing. And they recently took a hit after losing forwards Trevor Ariza to the Suns and Luc Mbah a Moute to the Clippers. There are now reports that they may possibly land Carmelo Anthony.
The Open Floor crew examines the Rockets' summer, how Carmelo would fit and more.
(Listen to the latest Open Floor Podcast here. The following transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Andrew Sharp: Luc Mbah a Moute is going to the Clippers, which is perplexing to me for a couple reasons. On one hand I don’t know how you let him get away if you are the Rockets. On the other hand the Clippers aren’t taking this year off to try to tank and it’s a reason why they would want a guy like Mbah a Moute. What do you think?
Golliver: It seems like he made a bad pick. What is he doing? His skills make sense for a Houston or Golden State. Where are the Clippers going? I mean, obviously he played with the Clippers before and he knows Doc. Doc was always campaigning for him for All-Defensive First Team or trying to throw him into the defensive player of the year conversation. Doc has a great ability in pushing stories that don’t really catch on. He has a huge knack for that. I just think if you are Mbah a Moute you should have stayed in Houston—or he should have hungout in the arms race with teams like the Lakers or the Warriors.
Sharp: I just wanted to see Mbah a Moute go to Philly to reunite with Joel Embiid, who he discovered in Cameroon like 10 years ago. There are a lot of fits for him that would have been really cool. I would have loved to see him in Portland. I don’t know the specifics of the deal but it is kind of a bummer for both sides. Houston has now lost Mbah a Moute, they lost Trevor Ariza and they are seriously considering adding Carmelo Anthony after 12 months of us looking at that team and being like man they really dodged a bullet for not signing or trading for Carmelo. It looks like that is the plan and I don’t really get it. I am not as down on Carmelo as maybe the rest of the world is. I would like to see Melo go to Miami and rehab his career. The one thing you can’t talk yourself into when it comes to Carmelo Anthony is swinging a Warriors matchup—that is the worst possible fit for him and that looks like where things are headed for him and the Rockets.
Golliver: Hoodie Melo is going to get embarrassed if he goes to Houston (laughs).
Sharp: It’s going to be brutal man (laughs). That’s a team where literally all that matters to them is a matchup with the Warriors and he is not a good matchup for that team.
Golliver: Personally, I would rather have Mbah a Moute than Melo if I am Houston. I think that is weird. I don’t know if you saw this but the tagline that Chris Paul and the Rockets put out there after he signed the deal was ‘Let’s run it back’. Like we are going to go and try to get over the hump after getting so close to Golden State. Following Houston’s win over Golden State at Summer League, Daryl Morey went up to Bob Meyers and he goes, ‘now it is four to four,’ like it was Game 8 (laughs).
Sharp: That is awesome. Credit to Daryl Morey because he does have a sense of humor about all of this stuff. I like that about him.
Golliver: We can’t say the Rockets are running it back because Mbah a Moute is out and Ariza took the cash. I think to me the story of this season followed by this summer is that there is a shelf life in keeping role players happy and content in marginalized situations. Of course Chris Paul wants to run it back—he is going to get paid $40 million a year. Of course James Harden wants to run it back—he is getting paid max money and he just won MVP and Adidas just gave him his own fire truck at his middle school in L.A. He is loving life.
Sharp: What it does is challenges what you have to do to contend every year if you are not a team with three or four or now five All-Stars in Golden State. Teams like the Rockets and Celtics the last few years have been thriving in finding guys who outperform cheap deals and that’s what you have to do year after year. It’s not as easy as it looks to turn over the backend of the roster annually and expect to find the right guys to replace everybody.