The Houston Rockets appeared to have it all together and were heading straight toward the NBA Finals before being knocked out by the Golden State Warriors in the second round. Some thought that it was simply a bad break, but it appears things were much worse than anyone had imagined. The last week has brought about great amounts of turmoil in the organization and it may lead to the Rockets being quite active in the 2019 NBA free agency market.
For the second year in a row, the Rockets were defeated by the Warriors, but this time, they bowed out in the Western Conference Semifinals, and not the Conference Finals. With all of the injuries suffered by the Warriors, it is believed that that the Western Conference is wide open for next season and the Rockets would be a clear-cut favorite.
With the season over, things have bubbled over and are even worse than originally thought as problems are boiling off the court too. A high-ranking source for the Houston Rockets even said to ESPN, “There’s too much damn turmoil. There’s some hard feelings right now everywhere.”
This has led to Yahoo Sports reporting that Chris Paul has demanded a trade and adding that his relationship with James Harden is simply “unsalvageable.” Harden then reportedly told Rockets management that it was either “him or me,” but did that really happen?
Since that report came out, Paul has completely refuted the claim and said he knows nothing about demanding a trade. Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey has also come forward twice to strongly point out that Paul never asked for a trade or anything from them.
A thoroughly exasperated Daryl Morey said Chris Paul and his reps have never asked to trade him and he will be on Rockets next season. Said he and Harden do not have issues with one another and that he has spoken to both often this off-season about free agency evaluations, plans.— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) June 18, 2019
Despite what Paul and Morey have said, many experts believe that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. These rumors had to come from somewhere and it’s difficult to accept that there is no truth to the idea that there are internal problems on the Rockets roster and that CP3 isn’t looking for a new home.
Paul is scheduled to make around $124 million over the next three years of his contract with the Rockets, and that would be difficult to unload in a trade. Either way, there would be someone bound to take a shot on an aging guard with injury issues.
If the Rockets end up dealing away Paul, they would have a rather big void to fill, and that is where free agency comes in. Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle is reporting via Twitter that the Rockets are likely going to target Jimmy Butler in free agency and they’re going to be rather aggressive in their pursuit.
Rockets are expected to pursue Butler and be aggressive in their pursuit. Seen as an ideal fit on both ends of court, and in helping push Rockets to the top of the wide-open West.— Brian T. Smith (@ChronBrianSmith) June 19, 2019
One day, there is a story of turmoil and disrepair in the Houston Rockets organization. The next day, everyone is fine and they’re looking ahead to the next season. Right now, it’s hard to believe that all is well with Chris Paul and company, but only time will tell. The thing about it is that NBA free agency begins in less than two weeks and Jimmy Butler won’t be on the market very long.