The team with the worst record in the NBA this season was the Houston Rockets.
This team was just not very good, to say the least.
They struggled with injuries and roster moves all season long.
There was even a 20-game losing streak to make matters worse.
Houston came into the season not wanting to lose as they still had former MVP, James Harden.
Unfortunately, Harden wanted out as soon as the season began and ultimately got his wish.
From that point forward, the Rockets were a totally different team.
After years of having title aspirations, the Rockets must now focus on the future.
However, this franchise might not be in the best shape for the future.
They have a couple young pieces and a coach that is respected around the league.
On the flip side, there are a few reasons why they might be doomed for next season and the future.
3. Owner Tilman Fertitta
In sports, most of the time you don’t know the owner of a team.
However, for the Rockets, we know their owner.
Tilman Fertitta is the owner of the Rockets and has remained in the public eye.
He isn’t afraid to share his opinion about the team.
He’s also not afraid to make moves that are controversial.
According to @espn_macmahon on the Chris Paul/Russell Westbrook trade;
“That trade was made because Tilman Fertitta (Rockets Owner) wanted it made. He thought Chris Paul’s contract was the worst he’d ever seen in business or sports.” pic.twitter.com/tXvu9GBLKR
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) October 16, 2020
Paul then left and turned around an Oklahoma City Thunder franchise; and eventually found his way to the Phoenix Suns where they are in the playoffs as the second seed.
A successful owner does not meddle with the team.
You focus on a winning product, rather than worrying about your bottom dollar.
However, Fertitta is not an owner that follows that mindset.
That is why he can hurt the Rockets’ chances moving forward.
2. Bad Haul for a Superstar
Harden made it very clear that he did not want to be in Houston any longer.
James Harden did not take any more questions after this. That's as close to publicly demanding a trade as you can get. https://t.co/knUpb3Iopb
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) January 13, 2021
The face of the franchise wanted out and the Rockets had to act fast.
Houston ended up granting his trade demand and sent him to the Brooklyn Nets.
Their initial haul for Harden included draft picks and Caris LeVert.
That was not the best package for a superstar, but they had very little leverage.
However, the Rockets moved LeVert for Victor Oladipo, which did not work out at all.
They ended up moving Oladipo around the trade deadline.
The final package for Harden was:
- Kelly Olynyk
- Avery Bradley
- Dante Exum
- Rodions Kurucs
- Four first-round picks
- Five pick swaps
- Future second-round pick
That haul for Harden is pretty bad and gives them nothing for the future since those draft picks are bound to be late-round picks.
Houston needed to do better with this trade and just ended up messing it up big time.
1. Bad Contracts
The Rockets are rebuilding, but still own a few bad contracts.
Some are contracts that might be too hard to move.
John Wall is still owed $44 million next season and $47 million the following season.
Eric Gordon has a lengthy contract, despite his injuries and being older.
D.J. Augustin has two more years worth around $7 million each season.
The team wants to start fresh, but it hard to do that with highly paid veterans.
The Rockets must try their hardest to move these contracts.
Wall still thinks he is capable of being his old self, but he should not figure that out on a team like this.
He even knows that probably and that is why he wants out.
John Wall voted on an IG poll that he wants to leave Houston.
I appreciate him trying to put the team on his back amidst the Harden drama. Was awesome to see him bounce back after the injuries. That said, he doesn’t fit the rebuild timeline & deserves to go to a better team. https://t.co/eW6W3LRzjF
— Roosh (@RooshWilliams) May 14, 2021
The Rockets are doomed if they do not get their franchise on the right track in the midst of a rebuild.