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No Bosh. No ‘Melo. Now what for Houston?

Jul 12, 2014, 2:59 PM EDT

Cleveland Cavaliers v Dallas Mavericks Getty Images

Strike one — Carmelo Anthony made it pretty clear early on that whatever he ends up choosing as his next destination it would not be the Houston Rockets.

Strike two – when LeBron James chose Cleveland it was assumed around the league and by the Rockets that they could clear out the cap space (trade Omer Asik to the Pelicans and Jeremy Lin to the Lakers) and they would give Chris Bosh a near max deal to join James Harden and Dwight Howard. Nope. Pat Riley came in with a max offer for Bosh and he took it to stay in a place he is personally and professionally happy.

The Rockets planned well, they were in the right positions, but free agency just didn’t break their way.

So now what in Houston?

They still may be able to draw a quality free agent, but not somebody as good as they just missed on. Here are five guys they can target.

Luol Deng. The former Chicago Bull and short-time Cavalier is the best fit of the guys left in my opinion — but the Rockets are also out of the running for him, according to Marc Stein at ESPN. Deng appears headed to Miami.

Trevor Ariza. This is the guy Houston now seems to be targeting. For my money (and it’s not my money) the Rockets would be better off with Chandler Parsons at the three and waiting to find a four, but Ariza is one option if they want to go a little smaller. He could be costly as the Wizards want to keep him and he’s everybody’s backup plan. He is a good defender who last year shot the ball well all over the court on his way to 14.4 points a game and a .590 true shooting percentage.

Greg Monroe. This would be a bet on potential, that he could develop into an All-Star level player. The problem is he is an expensive gamble — it likely takes a max or close to it offer to pry him out of Detroit, and the Pistons still could match anyway (Monroe is a restricted free agent). Monroe has a versatile offensive game — at the elbow he can score and make good decisions he is solid in the post and runs the floor well.

• Wait. Being patient sucks. Both for fans and owners. But sometimes it is the best option. The Rockets are in position to go after big free agents in the coming years, or to make trades — as long as they don’t screw up their flexibility by overpaying for a second tier guy. Wait out the market, wait for next year’s free agent crop. The Rockets should improve after a year together and some playoff experience (if not, Kevin McHale should worry) and with Parsons back in the fold this is a dangerous team. Don’t mess up what you have just to get something.

  1. eugenesaxe1 - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    Monroe would be a good grab for anyone.

    • elcapitan1019 - Jul 13, 2014 at 8:15 AM

      He has big stones.

  2. chicagosports2014 - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    Don’t nobody wanna play with Dwight Howard goof as

    • ranfan12 - Jul 12, 2014 at 7:48 PM

      i’d play with a d12 that played well in the playoffs, unlike some other players with facial hair lol…

  3. pukpokito - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:12 PM

    They need to chase Kevin Love. Match Chandler Parsons then sign and trade him to Minnesota with two first round picks plus take the contact of Corey Brewer for Kevin Love.They hve cap space to do all that. If this first round pick is giving them trouble in signing with them then include his rights too to even sweeten the deal for Flip Saunders.

    • bkbell3 - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:55 PM

      pukpokito, if houston matches him they can’t trade till december and he can block any trade for his first year of his contract. They would have to get parson’s permission to trade him and do you think parsons wants to go to minn.?

    • louderthanwords1 - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:00 PM

      After Parsons signed the offer sheet they can no longer sign and trade him. The Rockets first round pick isn’t giving them a hard time signing with them it’s in fact the opposite. The Rockets want him to sign a letter saying he won’t come to the nba this year so they can gain cap space via his cap hold. In addition to those things that’s just a horrible deal for the Timberwolves.

  4. pukpokito - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    Monroe is a too expensive for the game he brings.Don’t overpay him.

  5. im10acious - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    If they are going to sign a quality FA this year and match the Parsons offer, they have about a day in which to do it as that is about what is left on the 72 hour matching period. Also they need to sign the FA first before matching as the opposite sequence would eat up most of the cap room for a FA.

  6. 1harrypairatesties - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    Maybe Deng will want to stay in Cleveland now that LeBron is back.

    • pukpokito - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:37 PM

      Not possible.They play the same position.

      • zoomy123 - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:59 PM

        They could sign and trade him or push him to the 2. Although, having him play the 2 doesn’t sound like a good idea; LBJ needs his 2 guard to hit 3′s, unless they’re named Dwyane Wade.

  7. mp4philly - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    I love how that Houston GM outsmarted himself. Makes me nervous as a Sixers’ fan seeing that our GM is a Morey disciple.

    • urbsports - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:25 PM

      How did he outsmart himself, Filly?

    • felser - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:33 PM

      Yep, so far he either gave away Parsons a year early or paid $44 million extra for two years of Parsons, and gave away Asik and Lin on net (draft pick coming for Asik, and going with Lin). The pick acquired for Asik is better than the one given up with Lin, but still. Bad miscalculations by Morey so far. We’ll see if/how he recovers.

      • elcapitanfiscal - Jul 12, 2014 at 5:39 PM

        Plus he got Howard while a center in Asik that is also pretty good, costs less, and isnt a princess. Hopefully my Mavs can capitalize and finish off the Parsons deal

      • dualprime - Jul 13, 2014 at 4:50 PM

        Mavs? Their average age is 50 something. Parsons is good but not good enough to take the Mavs anywhere.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:27 PM

      He does have Howard and Harden tho, which is much more than most franchises can say. Some off-seasons are good, some off-seasons are bad… that’s part of the game.

    • psubeerman21 - Jul 12, 2014 at 6:09 PM

      I’m a sixers fan as well, and I am thrilled hinkie is this guys protégée. Morey might have made some suspect deals, but he put his team in a position to get a max free agent and retain a good wing player. If he had gotten bosh and matched parsons, look at that team. Title contender, regardless of the Howard haters and the lack of defense by harden. The point being IT ALMOST HAPPENED. you can’t control everything, but you can put yourself in a position for great things to happen. Thats what Morey did. You have to gamble sometimes. This time he broke even. Next year might be different

      • ddarqwon - Jul 13, 2014 at 4:17 PM

        Exactly.
        Morey’s plan was a great one and it worked nearly flawlessly. The only issue was when Riley panicked and offered Bosh the richest contract in the league.

        Historically, the aggressive and forward thinking front offices are the ones that have been consistently competitive and successful.

    • villainousjake - Jul 12, 2014 at 7:00 PM

      He didn’t outsmart himself. He rolled the dice and it didn’t work. He still has a good track record.

  8. csbanter - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    Now that the chosen one has returned to Cleveland and Melo is going back to NY, its time for some football. Go riddance NBA go back to your hole until October.

    • 1historian - Jul 13, 2014 at 4:17 PM

      After all the thrills and chills and speculation and what-ifs and all the silly nonsense that he kept us entertained so well you just brush them off just like that?

      That’s cold, man – that’s cold.

      I’d like to thank them for all this foolishness.

  9. 00maltliquor - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    Bring back Chandler Parsons and/or wait it out and not just sign players for the sake of signing a la Joe Dumars in DET.

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:52 PM

      Why would they want to do what the Lakers are doing?

      • 00maltliquor - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:56 PM

        Lakers are signing Chandler Parsons? Or are being smart and not just signing any C-lister for too much and too long just because they have the cap room? Let me know….

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 12, 2014 at 10:19 PM

        p swaggy and the other c lister, jordan hill they signed yesterday…

        I mean WHY not keep the players from last season… 27 & 55…

        did you notice what was said in the article about jordan hill resigning on this site?

        here’s a refresher…

        “None of this is inspiring.”

        ” but they’re marginal players.” (meaning P swaggy and J hill – Uh, marginal is just another name for C-Lister)

        “I’m just waiting for Wojnarowski to add that he had a typo on the dollars or years. That’s seems like a huge amount of money to give Hill.”

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 12, 2014 at 10:39 PM

        so, when you said the lakers are being smart and not signing c-listers for too much and too long…

        well OTHERS think and have written saying THAT is what they are doing…

        and I agree with them…

  10. louderthanwords1 - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    Not sure how/why Monroe would even be an option. The Rockets whole plan has been to add a free agent and then match the Parsons deal. Unless I’m missing something with Monroe being a restricted free agent unless they could work out a sign and trade agreement with the Pistons the Rockets would have to choose between matching Parsons contract before the 72 hours is up or submitting a contract to the Pistons for Monroe which the Pistons would have 72 hours to match.

    • sal11 - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:27 PM

      Great points. I didn’t see this for some reason and posted the same thing below.

  11. jgreiner9 - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    They need a point guard. I’m not too thrilled about him but maybe Lance Stephenson? Or even possibly Eric Bledsoe? It might be heard for Phoenix to match him considering they signed Isaiah Thomas jr.

  12. pistolpete0903 - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    Why isn’t Gasol being targeted? He could fit in his comfortable 4 position; and the Rockets can get some quality 2-3 years.
    I think with Harden in the back-court (who plays close to nil defense, but has good offense), why not make a push for a defensive player (and can know down some 3′s). I personally like Tony Allen.

    I think if they let Parsons go, they should get Gasol and Allen (or a good defensive back court player).
    Again, it is conjecture at this point and I might be missing something

  13. themanchine - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:06 PM

    Because Gasol &DH12 worked so well together in LA…

    • mazblast - Jul 12, 2014 at 6:36 PM

      Granted, but a Mike D’Antoni offense makes it hard for one big to play well on that end, let alone two.

    • ranfan12 - Jul 12, 2014 at 7:51 PM

      worked well when they were winning lol. same with him and kaman. the twin towers thing had potential both times and it was squandered

  14. mackcarrington - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:06 PM

    The question I have is: How much positive credit does Morey still have? I mean, does getting Harden and Howard offset the fiasco with Royce White and this current botch job?

    • mackcarrington - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:29 PM

      Instead of just clicking on the “down” button, I wish you people would explain to me what’s wrong with the question. I can only surmise that you are Houston fans.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:34 PM

      Morey is proving to be some sort of maverick gambler. He seems to like to roll the dice a lot for a numbers guy. For him to take a risk on someone like Royce White… there weren’t any advanced stats that could’ve indicated that he was going to be able to get over his issues in the pros… selected him anyway.

    • Hard On For Harden - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:45 PM

      2008: Bobby Jackson, Donte Greene, and a future 1st round pick for Ron Artest. They took the Lakers to 7 games in the semifinals without T-Mac and Yao going down in the first game that season.

      2009: Traded starting PG Rafer Alston to the Grizzlies for backup PG Kyle Lowry and was ripped relentlessly for it. Alston’s been out of the league and Lowry’s now a borderline All-Star PG.

      2010: Three way trade with SAC and NY sending T-Mac’s expiring plus Carl Landry out, brought back Kevin Martin who was a great fit before the revision of the hand check rule and Yao being forced to call it quits.

      2011: Parsons in the 2nd round

      2011: Aaron Brooks to the Suns for Goran Dragic. He blossomed in Houston and returned to Phoenix because Morey claimed (since proven wrong with Dwight) that it was the teams policy to not have player options in contracts. What’s so funny is for all the hate slung at Morey (who the hells even calling him a genius?), here’s a perfect example of something to actually rip him for, yet people just keep bringing up stupid, inconsequential crap.

      2012: Lowry to the Raptors for a lottery pick with restrictions (Lowry went public with the trade request, killing leverage), flipped it with Martin and Lamb to the Thunder for Harden. When this pick was sent to OKC it was thought to be a high lottery pick but ended up towards the bottom.

      There’s a bunch of other crap, but this guy completely flipped the roster in a couple seasons without tanking. Even when Yao and T-Mac’s careers faded, they were still a .500 team comprised of journeymen. Is he the best in the business? No. But he’s pretty good and I give him props for being aggressive. Sucks we lose Bosh but we’re still in a million times better place than we were in 2011. And Royce White? Come on man, he was the 14th pick or whatever, don’t act like that was some epic blunder for the ages.

      • felser - Jul 12, 2014 at 5:06 PM

        Yeah, he’s done a great job up to now. That’s why it’s so surprising to see his fail. You need to know that Bosch is coming before you pay so much clear out the cap space for him,

  15. themanchine - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:08 PM

    Deng staying w Cavs would actually make a lot of sense. Play him at the 3 and LeBron at the 4. It’s smarter then gutting the team for KLove and ending up like Miami w 3guys and 12 bums

    • antistratfordian - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:45 PM

      Nein. LeBron’s game is too naturally active for him to be defending PFs for long stretches. He can’t help himself – he instinctively reacts to a fast break like a cheetah seeing a rabbit. But you’d be asking him to get leverage on bigs on defense all game (which takes a toll on your thighs and core), and then also ask him to maintain the energy to be the LeBron that we’re used to on offense i.e. locomotive flying down the floor.

      You can put him at the 4 on offense all you want, but on defense you should only do it tactically or else you’ll wear him out.

  16. sal11 - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:25 PM

    How can Houston make a play for Greg Monroe or any other RFA? They only have the cap space until they match on Parsons, then it’s gone (and they only have it in the first place if the Asik trade ends up going down). This article should make that a lot clearer. They’re going after Ariza/Deng/whoever else is available in UFA right now because it’s their last chance to use the cap room they’ve been working to create.

  17. adoombray - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    a restricted free agent isnt really a free agent, he’s a blog scenario. not realistic that RFA’s ever leave their team

    • felser - Jul 12, 2014 at 5:07 PM

      Isaiah Thomas.

      • klove4wiggins - Jul 12, 2014 at 11:33 PM

        No, he played with the pistons his whole career!….

  18. cpcheung - Jul 12, 2014 at 5:49 PM

    The title of this article should be: “No Bosh, no Melo, no Lin, No Asik, and no Parsons, what will Rockets do?”

  19. skoivu10 - Jul 12, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    What now??? uhh..no championship?

    ..not that they were going to get one anyways

  20. peralez2383 - Jul 12, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    Most players wouldn’t want to go to the 3rd best team in Tx

  21. absentfathers - Jul 12, 2014 at 7:12 PM

    I would’t match Dallas’ offer to Parsons, dude isn’t much better, if better at all than Ariza,.,

  22. patrickla818 - Jul 12, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    That is waaaaaaay too much money for a good but not great player! Bad deal for a guy who is hot and cold and plays marginal D!

  23. whalesarenotmammals - Jul 12, 2014 at 8:59 PM

    Houston, we have a problem… The problem is all the FA’s are signing with other teams

  24. sportsnut101 - Jul 13, 2014 at 5:33 AM

    I would let parsons go and see if I can bring in more depth which is what they need
    Sign duan blair for bench pf he can play
    Enough with 3s all the time how bout a pf who can defend and score with back to basket

  25. elcapitan1019 - Jul 13, 2014 at 8:18 AM

    From Melo and Bosh to Morey: “Well, Daryl, thanks for playing. As parting gifts we give you a consolation prize, Trevor Ariza. We regret you had to give away two valuable pieces, Lin and Asik, for essentially nothing, but hey, it’s not personal, it’s just numbers.”

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