It was on the quiet (but impactful) plane ride home from the bubble where the disaster for the Houston Rockets began. Former Head Coach Mike D’Antoni had let the team know that he will not be returning next season to coach the Rockets, and move on. D’Antoni implemented the “small ball” idea into the Rockets lineup, and we saw some pros and cons to it. After a second round exit to the Lakers, it just didn’t feel right for the long term.
We fast forward a couple months later to be informed that former Dallas Mavericks assistant head coach Stephen Silas will now be the new coach for Houston. Silas was part of the reason why Dallas had such a historic offense this past year, and it seemed like a pretty good hire. He fits the Houston Rockets system well, the only thing is that he doesn’t have the biggest reputation. After the hire, it was a straight roller coaster ride downhill.
To start off the madness, we received multiple reports stating that Russell Westbrook wants out of Houston. Westbrook averaged 27 points a game with the Rockets, with 8 rebounds and 7 assists. This is a stellar statline for him, considering that he is not the main guy in Houston. Westbrook expressed his concerns about the direction of the Rockets organization moving forward. After the report stating he wants out, Westbrook reportedly also said that he’s uneasy with the Rockets’ accountability and culture, as well as wanting a role similar to what he had in OKC. As for what we saw this year, there really was nothing in particular that would show you that Westbrook feels this way, but at the same time, we don’t know what’s going on inside the scene. The departure of D’Antoni and hiring of Silas could be a reason why this is happening. Maybe Silas’ style of play that he wanted for H-Town differed vastly from the style of D’Antoni. A team that has expressed interest in Russ are the Charlotte Hornets. A surprising team. Should this blockbuster deal get pulled off, would it include the number 3 overall pick?
After this, we got news that players including Eric Gordon, Danuel House, and Austin Rivers were dissatisfied with their roles. They had issues with the way Mike D’Antoni used them in the 2019-2020 campaign. To be specific, Gordon was looking for a defined role, like a sixth man or starter, versus being rotated back and forth with Danuel House. Gordon also wanted to be used consistently, whether it be as a scorer or creator. He was not pleased with his role. As for Danuel House, he simply wasn’t pleased with the way the Rockets involved and used him in games. For Austin Rivers, it was a similar situation. Unpleasant with the way he was being utilized, and tired of the inconsistent playing time. Two of these guys are veterans for the Rockets, which makes the complaints that much more meaningful. Not to mention, P.J. Tucker has been “irate” over his contract. The truth needed to be told.
As if things couldn’t get worse, James Harden has reportedly come out, and expressed concerns for the organization. Now, Harden has said that he is committed to staying with the Rockets for the 2021 season, but it doesn’t look too good when the face of your franchise is in doubt. Multiple sources claim Harden has “created a list” of teams that he would like to go to, but nothing has been officially confirmed. It is a complete disaster for Houston currently, and Harden’s status is up in the air.
All of this news just continues to pile up drama for the NBA offseason. Mock trades, draft night trades will all continue to arise, while we sit back, relax (some fans may not be so relaxed), and enjoy.
Top Photo: Thomas Shea, ftw.usatoday