The Rockets have been at the front of the offseason. Whether it was getting involved in Dwight Howard rumors or going after and signing Jeremy Lin, you cannot fault Daryl Morey for going out there and being active. Houston has been a middle of the Western Conference team for the better part of a decade. Always good enough to compete for a Playoff spot, never quite good enough to get out of the dreaded NBA middle class.
So Houston had big dreams of perhaps having one great run. Doing something nobody expected and being put on the map for the 2013 season for more than All-Star Weekend.
It was not something that went exactly according to plan. The Rockets did not get Dwight Howard and they spent a ton of money to sign Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik. The big moves and the big dreams did indeed cost Houston a lot. It cost the Rockets a pretty decent veteran power forward in Louis Scola. Scola was sacrificed to the salary cap gods as Houston tried to position itself for something more.
What that more is though is still a work in progress.
That is the way it was explained to Scola, it seems. Scola talked to Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com after Argentina’s loss to the United States in Barcelona this weekend that the Rockets were looking to go young if they could not reel in the big fish.
“They (general manager Daryl Morey and VP of player personnel Gersson Roses) called me right around draft day and they said they had drafted power forwards, and they told me they were going to get some big player to help us right now, which I could be a big part of that.
“But then failing to do that, and getting some power forwards , they believed they needed to go young. They told me they don’t think they’re going to be doing nothing in the next 3-4 years, which is when I’m going to be a player. They’re trying to go younger, and they’re looking 3-4 years ahead.”
It seems like the Rockets tried to do Scola a favor. They had a great player who is somewhere in his prime, likely tailing off. They did not see him as part of their long-term plans and so the Rockets cut the final three years and nearly $15 million with their amnesty waiver. Scola then got picked up by the Suns — hardly a step forward when it comes to contenders, I guess.
What the mixed message to Scola seemed to really be saying is Houston does not quite know what it is doing. It has a Plan A — get a star — and a Plan B — get young. They are conflicting plans typically. Teams do not typically play for now while building for later. That appears to be what Houston is doing, operating the two conflicting modes to a championship simultaneously.
Houston has set itself up with a good young team. The Rockets picked up three draft picks who all played extremely well in Summer League — Royce White particularly turned heads with his playmaking ability at the power forward position. They still have Kevin Martin, a good young scorer on the border of true stardom.
The Rockets roster is still being pieced together. It was increasingly clear though that Scola was not a part of that future. So Houston moved on and Scola moved on. What the future holds for Houston though is another question entirely.