Rockets back to spinning wheels again

HOUSTON — This is the game the Rockets have chosen to play. Go Fish at a high-stakes poker table.

It was less than a week ago when Dealin’ Daryl Morey bet on a starting lineup that would have included Dwight Howard, James Harden, Chris Bosh, Chandler Parsons and Patrick Beverley.

Sometimes you draw to a busted flush.

Bosh spurned the Rockets’ $88 million, four-year offer to stay in Miami for $118 million. Simple math.

Now Parsons walks up I-45 to Dallas for $46 million over three years. Simple gaffe.

The Rockets could have kept Parsons for the upcoming season for the final year on his rookie contract, roughly $964,000. But the team chose not to pick up the option in order to keep the right to match any offer that he received. Then they didn’t.

Nice season the Rockets had there in 2013-14. They won 54 games, grabbed the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference and were feeling pretty good about themselves until nobody covered Damian Lillard with 0.9 seconds to play.

But when the heartache of that Game 6 loss and sudden ouster in Portland finally faded, there was reason to look ahead. Until this. Now the Rockets are back on the hamster wheel making no progress.

No offense to Trevor Ariza, but he doesn’t move the Rockets up in the West pecking order, doesn’t move the overall program forward.

Then again, the Rockets don’t actually have a program other than to keep swapping names and players and draft choices and salary cap spaces like trading cards. For a fellow who looked like the smartest guy in the room last summer when he landed Howard, Morey celebrates the first anniversary of that coup by telling Houston fans: “See you next summer. Please.”

While the Spurs win their fifth championship in 15 years by building a sense of family and togetherness, the Rockets are like the guy dealing three-card monte on the sidewalk, looking to just outsmart all of the other saps. They’re not looking for a path to long-term stability and success, just shortcuts to the top.

The Rockets brass reportedly also did not believe that a core lineup of Howard, Harden and Parsons was a championship contender. They wanted and needed Bosh with his champion’s pedigree because there remain serious questions about whether Howard or Harden can ever be the lead horse to pull a wagon. So how good is that lineup without Parsons?

The Rockets did not match the Dallas offer to Parsons because they did not want it to eat up too much of their payroll, so they could jump back in and play this game again next summer.

How do you develop real fan loyalty when you keep asking them to trust you and trust you and trust you for a future that’s out there in a world of analytics and promises beyond the stars?

What’s there to sell? Salary cap space, trade exceptions, maybe another video display on the front of the Toyota Center where they could photoshop LaMarcus Aldridge or LeBron James into the jersey of another current player next July.

Hopefully, that cap space and trade exception can come off the bench for some significant minutes, because in all of the grand hustle, an already thin roster became positively anorexic with the leaving of Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik and Parsons.

There was a palpable sense of shock and betrayal in Houston when Bosh — who definitely played the flirting game — did not jump into the Rockets’ arms as soon as James announced his return to Cleveland.

But there is no room here for hurt feelings. The Rockets, just like the Heat with LeBron, have to know and understand this game they like to play is the equivalent of a pickup in a singles bar. Sure, we can have some fun. But did you really think we were getting married?

It’s all those fans that keep going home alone at closing time who get stuck with another tab.

58 Comments

  1. Gary says:

    Great move not over paying someone like parsons… His a great dude, but imho his only a 10 mil player at max…. So happy for parsons that marc cuban spend that much money on him.

    But the worst is letting him out of his rookie contract. If they arent sure of keeping him as RFA, then theres not much of a difference making him UFA next year… Thats really stupid move from morey…

    If you can build a championship team this yr, chandler would have a difficulty leaving the rockets next yr. as i believe his heart is to stay w the rockets.

    Any way, im crossing my fingers that morey has something under his sleeves to show for the initial losses he suffer in this yrs free agency

  2. david davinchi says:

    Everybody acting like houston is dead how. Bout signing Daniel l a.d the improvent o f Terence Jones what about Mi.te.eus or rookie nick jone. And last butnot least their frist round pick

  3. Box of KLEENEX is in the mail ! says:

    First of all; you are hurt Mr. Blinebury, I understand that. I am sorry too, for you. Check your mail box.

    Second of all; Mr. Morey never thought he was the smartest man in the room until ‘you guys’ stamped it on his forehead. Now every morning he sees his face in the mirror it reminds him that he has to turn a rock into a fire breathing monster.

    And last of all; you, all of you, were with him, praising his wizardry and magical moves towards acquiring Bosh. None of you, not one, ever thought LeBron might leave the HEAT (I commented on one of your write ups that there was no reason why he would stay … but who am I ?). None of you, therefore, could visualize that without LeBron the HEAT would become far more attractive to Bosh than the ROCKETS. Max money, and he is ‘the guy’. What would he have been in Houston … the third option ? He could accept that behind James and Wade, but Harden … c’mon. The man has a little self esteem.

    Now why would anyone not pick up a less than 1 Million option on a player like Parsons is what prompted me to mail you the KLEENEX … that pain will hurt you for many, many years to come. Sorry !

  4. Bball says:

    There are plenty of quality back-up players available if the Rockets use a little imagination and open their wallets. There are veteran big men who can sign for reasonable sums and possibly be helpful. Bynum, Okafor, Elton Brand, Jermaine Oneal are all available for next to nothing. They may be worth next to nothing, or they may be worth a look. Michael Beasley just needs somebody to help him get his head right, but dude can ball. And there are several veteran (old) point guards available if you just need a quality back-up for a year. And the D-league had a few nice players that haven’t latched on with anyone yet. A better team than last year? Naw … that’s not likely. But they can still be very competitive and get bounced in the first round again.

  5. DRAGONFORMVP says:

    Enron rockets staring Dwight Howard and some schmucks… thanks morey

  6. mgm says:

    a lot of mis-informed comments on this board, why pay a backup $8m dollars, especially
    when their talents don’t rise to the level of deserving such amount. Lin and Asik are both
    good players but not great players, they will easily be replaced. Asik sulked most of the
    year away even before the season began, because he wanted to be traded, they did
    what he asked them to do. Parsons is not that great either. a role player. the rockets
    will be just fine

  7. jake s. says:

    They have Laker syndrome. Let me tell ya that both the Rockets and the Lakers are going to be sorry organizations for the next 2 years.

  8. Jay says:

    Everyone forgets that the Rockets just didn’t lose Asik, Lin, and Parsons for nothing… they lost them at the cost of their own draft picks next year. Rockets are the biggest losers this off-season

  9. Houston let go of a lot without getting anything in return. Ariza is an excellent start but they must remember that they are in the West and will need to shore up their bench in order to stay in the running amongst the Western Conference playoff teams which may be 10-12 teams.

  10. theholyspectator says:

    currently its a toss up between Rockets and Lakers as the big losers of this years FA

    • nbafan says:

      Rockets gave the Lakers two future picks and a good player who will be easily marketable and help fill seats. At least Lakers future looks brighter IMO and the Lakers were extremely profitable even last year.

  11. MarkR. says:

    I can’t wait until the Rockets play the Mavs this coming season and Parsons burns every Rocket on the floor.

  12. Jake says:

    I’m a die hard Mavericks fan for life and im more than ecstatic that we were able to get chandler parsons, but I really can’t help but feel bad for you guys down there in Houston. I know we have a rivalry and all but i really enjoyed watching your team last year in the playoffs, your lineup was exciting with parsons in it. In a way it will be disappointing to see them not contend as well, but im glad we got Chandler. good luck to you guys

  13. davesmall1 says:

    This may be the worst day in Rocket history since Yao Ming took early retirement with a busted foot.

    The Mavs suddenly look like title contenders with perhaps the best front line in the NBA.

    Parsons is a budding all star who will replace Dirk Nowitski as the main man in Dallas a couple years from now.

    Daryl Morey was my hero. He’s now my goat, and the laughing stock of the league. Time for Mr Alexander to begin the search for a new GM

  14. dmh says:

    Parsons is not worth 45 million. I understand why the rockets did not match. I also understand why they traded both Asik and Lin. What I do not understand is the Rockets jumping the gun with both of those trades with almost nothing to show for it. Trevor Ariza is a nice consolation prize. He can shoot the 3 and defend. However Ariza at this point in his career has kind of reached his peak. I think it is a good fit for the Rockets but, on the other hand, trading two good players with nothing to show for it other than a trade exception is not a way to build a championship squad. Wait til next year does not build a champion. A big 3 is not the only way to build a champion even if half the NBA is obsessed with that notion since the Celtic big 3 came together as well as the heat big 3 going to the finals 4 years in a row (winning two before Lebron left). Filling holes is a way to build a champion, trading away talent with nothing to show for it is not. Morey made some good moves but he has also made some puzzling moves as well. We will see what Morey does with the rest of the roster but, right now its questionable.

    • Huh..? says:

      You must have been out of the loop, not paying attention to free agency, or even the NBA. The reason why the Rockets let go of Lin and Asik is because they were expecting Bosh to sign with them, which was 95% guaranteed until the Heat lost their senses and gave him $118M. Their plan afterwards was to re-sign Parsons when they net Bosh. Asik wanted out since they got Howard, but the Rockets made it clear they weren’t dealing Lin unless they knew Bosh was coming.

  15. candy says:

    Who would have thought that Houston would get rid of ALL 3 of their young promising players in one swat? It takes a couple of real geniuses to do that. But they succeeded and now it’s celebration time. Harden can keep on trying to swipe at the ball once an opponent has zipped past him, Howard can keep getting hacked and missing key free throws near the end of the ball game, and Beverly can keep tackling opposing guards (McHale call that defense) and the season will go on swimmingly!

    • Huh..? says:

      Beverly tackling? LOL ask any player or coach in the NBA and they’ll tell you that they want him on their team. If he really was going overboard on defense, the league would’ve disciplined him already. It’s not like he’s a superstar that they must have around, he’s a disposable player to the NBA, so there would be no reason to ‘save’ him. It’s called tough defense power puff, now go back to watching skateboarding or ice skating and leave contact sports to the adults.

      And just so you know, Asik wanted out of Houston ever since Howard took his starting role and they never intended to trade Lin unless they were sure they were getting Bosh. Thank the Heat for tossing a head scratching $118M at him. At least Dallas gets this promising guard now, GG Houston.

  16. toughcallespn says:

    “They’re not looking for a path to long-term stability and success, just shortcuts to the top.” Excellent point!

  17. tinus says:

    sad step for the rockets!!!!, they lost three talented young players and hard workers, sadly, they are in small salary and unbalanced. why not look at the spurs!!!, they have to build a team with mutual respect, solidarity and strength to each other.
    Heavy duty for them …………….. sorry Allstars players.

  18. charles says:

    4th biggest city in america with the funds to easily win but owners don’t wanna spend money.Recipe for disaster and Houston has not much of a history of winning championships in anything.

  19. charles says:

    Houston has a bad owner and this is why houstons only championship in 3 major sports was when jordan was taking a break from nba.

  20. TTKIN says:

    HOU shoulda just extended Parsons, and turned Asik into a good bench player who WANTS to be there. But no, HOU had to do what HOU always tries to do. go get the superstar u don’t need. The roster they had last yr shoulda make it to the second round. And with them growing together as a team, coulda done serious damage this yr, but instead ur team now has Dwight, Harden, Ariza, and no one else after that.

  21. Big Al says:

    Rockets should now find a point guard of starter quality and have McHale lose his man-crush on Beverley. Jameer, who I’d say will bring a lot for the money, can reunite with Dwight.

  22. king1 says:

    The Rockets are having a disastrous offseason. They lost Parsons, Lin and Asik and they got eliminated from the playoffs in the first round last season. Morey should have kept Parsons another year for cheap instead of losing him for nothing. Where is the superstar free agent that Morey promised? Why would anyone sign with the Rockets when they treat their players so cattle to be bartered?

    The Spurs built their championship on loyalty and player respect.

    I don’t think they Rocket front office understand either of those terms.

    • Huh..? says:

      Spurs huh. Without a doubt the golden standard in the NBA, but people say loyalty and teamwork is what makes them successful. Everyone neglects that they have all-star and at one point superstar players in key positions to make any team successful. POINT GUARD and POWER FOWARD/CENTER (with Duncan taking Center position a lot as well). Yes their teamwork and chemistry is great, but when you have those 2 key pieces with an amazing SG like Ginobili, it’s hard not to be contenders. Nonetheless their ball movement and teamwork is impeccable and truly something to be remembered, hope they repeat and honestly should be 3-peat if they managed to make some free throws.

  23. Jun says:

    It is indeed a slap back in the face of Morey. things you do backfire. and that was just what happened in houston. shortcutting a path to thread in a championship by the kind of treatment they give to their players. for example, the way they have handled and treated Omar Asik and Jeremy Lin. sure, people will say it is business. that maybe so. but you can do business by not mistreating players. nice move dallas. and a stupid move by morey. i am glad Bosh spurned them.

  24. erwin says:

    They still have a decent team but Dallas will win more games than the Rockets.

  25. Leaving is better says:

    When we saw the scene Jeremy jursey was replaced by Anthony who never put Rockets in his mind, Rockets doom to fail.
    They show no respect to their own players who devoted their time and energy.
    How and What would the big stars think of that? Are they willing to come to such a terrible team? Certainly,money is the top choice. But Rockets doomed to fail and never get the championship, cuz no sense of families or togetherness like Spurs or other team. No shortcut to success, but Rockets tried to like shortcut.

  26. Parsons says:

    he is a superstar…more valuable compared to Bosh.

    Dallas will make some noise with line up of Chandler, Dirk, Parsons along with Ellis. imagine if Dallas got Rondo ? wow

  27. nbafan says:

    Been a Rockets fan almost all my life. I won’t be rooting for them this year and I won’t be buying floor season tickets either. Disrespecting a current player (Lin) during the recruitment process annoyed me and Chandler was one of my favorite players on the team. I’ll watch…on tv. I think the Rockets might be lucky just to make the playoffs this year without Parsons, Lin, and Asik. I will need to see a new head coach and gm before I buy tickets again. Didn’t they learn from the Spurs? Develop talent and chemistry, play team basketball, and have alot of depth…three things I don’t think Rockets do and I think its because of their leadership (or lack thereof).

  28. Derek says:

    Whoever wrote this has was pretty misguided in that next summer Houston could try and get LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE or LEBRON JAMES; because both of those players are committed to PORTLAND AND CLEVELAND LONG TERM. James want to bring his home a title and Aldridge want to finish his career with ONE TEAM: the team that picked him up on draft day and become the best player in that franchises history. GO BLAZERS VS CAVS in the Finals!!!

  29. VP says:

    Morey makes it tough to be a Rockets fan. I’m a “lifer”, but the Parsons decision is particularly disheartening. Hakeem led the Rockets to championships after many years of growth as a player and a person. That’s why his story was and remains so compelling. Fans loved him, win or lose. Neither Harden or Dwight has that kind of charisma, but Parsons did. Hell, he convinced Dwight to come here in the first place. Oh well…maybe they land a big free agent next summer. It’s just not that special watching hired help come in and win championships for your city.

  30. jorge says:

    Rockets made some big mistakes, I wouldn’t of sent of Asik, Parsons, or Lin without some concrete agreement from other players! Or at least traded for upgrades & not downgrade!

    Rockets should go after, the eventually amnested, Carlos Boozer, 2 year $8-$12 million contract with a team option. Go after Lance Stephenson, but he is a hot head, & make something work this season! I don’t want the team to be a 6-8 seed I want to be a 1-4 seed & make a deep run! Having faith in them!

    Starting Line-up:
    C-Dwight Howard
    PF-Carlos Boozer
    SF-Lance Stephenson
    SG-James Harden
    PG-Patrick Beverly

    Bench:
    Jameer Nelson
    Trevor Ariza
    Mike Miller
    Terrence Jones
    Donte Montijunas
    Troy Daniels
    Alonzo Gee

    #RocketsNation Lets Go!

  31. zblock11 says:

    KARMA that what they say pushing the limits cobinced the huge names in the nba franchise this is the result trying to make BIG 4 or BIG 3 they end it up with the BIG or should i say the dynamic ego duo of BATDWIGHT and ROBEARD with commissioner MCHALE MCHELL and trhe buttler MR. MOREY THE MONEY WEESEL WISELY! i hope you will make it to the play offs this 2015 Oh well ARIZA did’nt learn his lesson about this stupid organization keep it out H-TOWN!

  32. Person says:

    Parsons was the ultimate glue guy for the Rockets, I believe it was foolish not to sign him. I don’t think it’s easy to lure in big name free agents if you keep cutting away all of talent on your team.

    As a Rockets fan I’m worried we just killed our season before it began. Good luck to ya Parsons, you deserved better than you got here in Houston.

  33. digitioli says:

    Total bonehead move to not sign him!
    His stats were misleading as to how important he was to the team.
    Crazy stupid.

  34. papod says:

    Irrespective of what the front office was able to achieve (or otherwise) in wheeling and dealing in the trades for talents, I think the Rockets are doomed to fail because of a sub-par coaching team led by McHale. We all know sheer individual talents do not automatically add up to a great team. It takes good coaching and nurturing to turn a group of talented (sometimes egotistical) basketball players into a powerful team (look at the Spurs). The acid test of good coaching to me is defense. Good coverage of man-to-man defense shows individual effort and talents but team defense requires unselfish coverage for your teammates, especially again pick-and rolls. Sadly, under McHale, the Rockets just have not demonstrated any significant improvements in team defense, despite the addition of a great defense player like Howard.

    The responsibility of coaching and strategizing rests squarely on the shoulder of Head Coach, McHale. But whenever he was asked by reporters on what strategy he had in stopping the opponents, his stock answer was always “Basketball is a simple game, just play harder”. If coaching is really that simple, perhaps a parrot or even a tape-recorder can be the head coach of the Huston Rockets.

    • Carlo says:

      Sadly, their franchise player (Harden) is a total defensive liability. When in D, Rockets play 4vs5 (at best).

  35. JM says:

    Parsons was definitely one of their cornerstones. He was their 3rd leading scorer and he was also their best defender. A bird in the hand is definitely worth two in the bush.

  36. Ariza is still a pretty good player. He’s a good defender and can provide some 3 point shots, although he is rather inconsistent I think. I don’t think the Rockets got a lot worse, they just didn’t really get better. Sure, we almost forgot they lost Lin and Asik for almost nothing, but the Harden and Howard are still here. Maybe another season to gel and add a few more pieces would produce better reason. I didn’t think that the last team had a pretty high ceiling anyway. Well, they could have but they just need to develop a playing style and need a better defensive scheme that will suit their offense.

  37. hahoos says:

    Honestly, that’s what happens when an organization takes a risk. They should’ve picked up Parsons if they’ve already planned to ship out Lin and Asik. They could’ve kept him for a million and that’s completely do-able by Rockets standards. Let’s see how this season plays out.

  38. eX says:

    Can Sterling buy the Rocket’s team!

  39. TURSETTE says:

    ROCKETS SHOULD JUST JOIN A BEAUTY PAGEANT

  40. B-Baller says:

    Harden and Howards tears still taste yummy

  41. Dr. Chima says:

    It’s a shame to dismantle the team without any major upgrade. I wonder why the option on Parson was declined. I think that is the most baffling decision yet. He was one of the best players on the team. Sail had demanded to be traded but Lin was ready to stay despite his inconsistent play. He was not bad for someone coming from the bench.

  42. Alex says:

    Parsons was an above average SF who is an all around player and the deal was right on the money for what he was worth. If they were not planning on matching anything, why not get at least one more cheap season out of him before letting him walk? Makes no sense

  43. Dismayed says:

    This reminds me that our other Houston sports teams are disastrous. I feel betrayed You would expect more from the CEO of a 500 million dollar company. I say Morey is a Moron and got caught with his pants down. For that I’d put him on the free agency chopping block. Bet no one is interested in that fancy degree now

  44. fcuk rockets period says:

    oh well time to fcuk the Houston rockets coach and their stuff. they should fire all the management and coaching stuffs. Even they got all the superstars they still can’t figured how to use them periods.

  45. Hunter says:

    Great article and good read. Rockets mistreated Asik and threw Lin under the bus, they lost out on Melo and Bosh backed out, and oh yeah Parsons is gone. They are stuck with Baby Howie, Harden who is proving to be overrated and McFrankenstein as coach. Not to diss the Rockets franchise but I think the FO and coach are the wrong people to run the org.

  46. Kobe-Nash-Lakers says:

    Rockets will never win a championship.. Maybe when he retires or got traded..

  47. lakerslakerslakers says:

    parsons was the best player on that team.

  48. Duv says:

    As a huge Rockets fan I’m really concerned for next season.

  49. Scisca says:

    Miami lost LBJ, but Houston is still the biggest loser of this FA. I think they won’t even make the Playoffs this year, the West is too competitive.

  50. sedajames says:

    Totally agree Fran. It was a big headscratcher for them not to pick up Parsons option when it was so cheap, and their desperate pursuit of top FA’s created a toxic culture for anyone who isn’t a superstar. Why would any FA want to come to Houston after the way they wined then dumped Asik and Lin, and then promised to keep Parsons only to later decide he wasn’t worth the price. So far this off season they’ve actually gotten worse and are set up again to be a first round out – at best.

  51. True Baller says:

    Rockets are stupid and I’m a fan. Parsons is Young and does it all but oh well

  52. H-H says:

    Disappointing move