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Kevin McHale on Rockets lackluster offseason: ‘We have to sign players’

Jul 16, 2014, 11:12 AM EDT

The Rockets were ambitious entering free agency, shooting for stars like Carmelo Anthony in hopes of adding a third piece alongside Dwight Howard and James Harden that would immediately vault them to the level of title-contenders.

Not only did they strike out with Anthony, but Houston ended up losing three key rotation players in the process.

Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik were each traded away in a move to dump salary in case Anthony were to decide to come, and Chandler Parsons was allowed to leave in restricted free agency after the Rockets chose not to match the lucrative offer he received from the Mavericks.

Kevin McHale was once a general manager, so he understands the reasons that the front office made these moves as well as anyone. But that doesn’t mean that he has to like it, especially in his current role as head coach.

From Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

“Well, I mean, hey I understand kind of why we did it,” McHale said. “I know they’re talking about flexibility. I like Chandler. He’s a big part of what we did and what we do. I’m going to miss having him, but that’s part of the business I guess. We got to replace not only Chandler, but we have to replace (Omer) Asik and we have to replace Jeremy (Lin) so we have a lot of work to do.

“We’ll see who we get. We have to sign players. We’re just going to keep grinding away. And we’re going to go out and play. I like Trevor. I think he can help us. He shot the 3-ball well last year. We’re going to need him to do that again. Defense. Leadership. We need some experience.”

And from Adam Wexler of CSNHouston.com:

When asked if he thought, as general manager Daryl Morey said recently, the Rockets would be a better team come playoff time this season than they were last season, he simply said, “We’ll find out.”

The Rockets did add Trevor Ariza, a more-than-solid two-way player who should help the defense while fitting into Houston’s uptempo offensive style. And, there are still lower-level guys out there in free agency who might be of additional assistance as Houston looks to shore up its roster.

You can’t blame the Rockets for taking chances and trying to go in another direction, because after all, they didn’t get Howard and Harden to lose first round matchups in the playoffs. But at the moment, there’s no arguing that Houston failed miserably this summer, and have only gotten worse.

  1. jrs45 - Jul 16, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    Captain Obvious over here.

    • 4thquartermagic - Jul 16, 2014 at 6:17 PM

      Can’t wait for his riveting and insightful post game press conference speech:

      “We need to play harder, defend better, and score more points then the other team.”

  2. cantonb0und13 - Jul 16, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    McHale is the man, unfortunately Morey destroyed Rockets championship aspiration.

    • spursareold - Jul 16, 2014 at 11:27 AM

      McHale is a blunderbuss.

    • kinggw - Jul 16, 2014 at 11:53 AM

      McHale is a mediocre at best coach who constantly gets a pass because of his history as a player.

    • bdachan12 - Jul 16, 2014 at 11:54 AM

      If Mchale actually coached Harden instead of letting him do whatever he wants they would have been a much better team.

    • 8to80texansblog - Jul 16, 2014 at 9:42 PM

      McHale is a terrible coach…. Morey is an outstanding GM….

      Last year’s team wasn’t going to win a title….

  3. tsbona - Jul 16, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    Should probably try to get Harden to play defense too.

  4. tsbona - Jul 16, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    Should probably try to get Harden to play defense too.

  5. misremembered72 - Jul 16, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    Sign Jameer Nelson! Will be a great backup point guard who has played with Dwight, can score if he has to or play the facilitator.

    That is of course if bonehead Dwight Howard’s comments a couple years back about carrying a bad team (not even close to true) to the championship hasn’t left a bad taste.

    • tomasekradek - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:55 AM

      Actually that Magic team was pretty bad.

  6. harshedmellow - Jul 16, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    One thing about the current CBA… you MUST re-sign the guys you draft who turn out to be good. Losing Parsons was huge… same with Indy losing Stevenson. Gotta hang onto those guys.

    I’m not an expert on cap holds and the like by any means, but I never did read a reasons for not picking up the team option (for like 900k!!) on Parsons. Or just extend the guy- they could’ve extended him for less than max, very likely… guys like Parsons are hungry for that first big payday. Extend him at 3/32 or the like.

    Morey has been impressive the last couple years, but so far he has biffed it this year.

    • urodaddy07 - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:58 PM

      This is the puzzler isn’t it? Why did they allow Parsons to become a RFA? This was the glaring error in all this. Having made that mistake I don’t necessarily blame them for not matching Mavs offer. Now if Parson blows up this season,, then Morey will really feel like an idiot. Can’t help thinking though that Mavs have, for me, the 2nd best coach in the NBA in Rick Carlisle, and that Parsons’ talent will be better used in Dallas, where they move the ball better. Very few people gave the Mavs any chance against SAS and yet that was a very even 7 game series. Very few gave them a chance in 2011 against Miami. In fact, I see a lot of parallels between the finals this year and the one in 2011. My point is Carlisle gets the best out his roster and McHale hasn’t shown that he can. My prediction is that the 2 best teams in the West (and possibly the NBA) will be SAS and The Mavs.

      • duhwighthoward - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:21 PM

        eurodaddy, they let Parsons go because they think Ariza can do just as well at half the price. Hope this helps.

        ps, if they seriously plan on relying on Raymond Felton, they won’t be competing for a championship. They need to orchestrate a trade for a stud like Goran Dragic.

      • mackcarrington - Jul 16, 2014 at 6:16 PM

        And what would they have to give up to get a stud like Goran Dragic?

      • tomasekradek - Jul 17, 2014 at 4:11 AM

        Mavs one of the best 2 teams, seriously? I agreed with you until you got to that nonsense. You mention them as good as the spurs are? There is a big difference between a ring and first round exit and that Mavs took Spurs to 7 was just a matter of luck.

        Anyway, you heard about some team in LA called Clippers right? You know there is MVP and one of the best guards in OKC. You realize that Portland, Phoenix, Houston, GS etc. have some good teams? I don’t say it’s impossible they end up top 4 or 5 in the west but no way anywhere near to top teams in the nba, where beside those i mentioned also some LBJ is playing for Cavs, where Bulls look scary good on paper and Miami surprisingly stay in contention.

  7. kinggw - Jul 16, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    The reaction of McHale and other to the loss of Lin, Asik and Parsons can best be described as a gross overreaction.

    Parsons is not the next Larry Bird. He’s a decent three point shooter and he’s clearly benefited from Houston’s uptempo style. What else does he do? He doesn’t defend nor shoot the three better than the guy who is replacing him. Ariza like Parsons before him can stand in the corner and hit open threes.

    Asik is a quality player, but he didn’t want to be there and he was pricey for a disgruntled backup. Lin is an average point guard who can be easily replaced. I’m sure Morey wouldn’t mind having Parsons another year at less than $1M, but he’s nowhere near what the Mavs paid him.

    • cmehustle - Jul 16, 2014 at 2:46 PM

      While I agree Parsons wasnt worth the $15 mil (Wow!!!) per season he does a lot more than shoot threes and dont play defense. He brings the ball up the court, drives to the basket often in fact, excellent player in transistion, and of course doesnt play defense. To his credit no one on that played defense except Asik, Dwight, and the PG (not Lin the other guy)

    • elcapitan1019 - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:35 AM

      Talk about putting lipstick on a pig……

  8. loubearkane - Jul 16, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    HOUSTON will not make the Playoffs this year , McHale will be fired , Howard will be oblivious , Harden will be hairy

    • jsala02 - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:16 PM

      How will they miss the playoffs? They were a 54 win team and have 2 of the top 10 players in the league

      • urodaddy07 - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:45 PM

        I don’t see them winning 54 this season and in the west a winning record doesn’t guarantee a playoff spot. Having said that I think they will make the playoffs but it won’t be easy

      • urodaddy07 - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:50 PM

        Oh btw Dallas was 49-33, one game shirt of a 50 win season and they were the 8th seed. Houston won a mere 5 games more than they did. So a few games here and there and it’s definitely possible for Houston to be on the outside.

      • mazblast - Jul 17, 2014 at 12:06 AM

        Past performance is not an indication of future results. In other words, just because a team won 54 games last year doesn’t mean they will win 54 this year.

    • asimonetti88 - Jul 16, 2014 at 3:00 PM

      Houston will make the playoffs but they will win less games than they did last season.

  9. mrlaloosh - Jul 16, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    Houston, we have a problem.

  10. stayhigh_247 - Jul 16, 2014 at 11:58 AM

    Should probably try to get Harden to play defense too.

  11. charlescub80 - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    Should probably try to get Harden to play defense too.

  12. j0esixpack - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    Perhaps the Rocket have their eye on nabbing Rondo

    If so they will have to get creative and include a third team that has an assert Ainge would want in trade as its doubtful the Rockets would be willing to part with any player of interest to the Celtics.

  13. loubearkane - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    Maybe if Harden played Defense

  14. loungefly74 - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    Houston got worse this year. I hope this is a lesson for teams to give up on the notion to acquire 3 Big all-stars (Celtc, Heat, etc…) to compete for a title. 2 is good enough (Shaq and Kobe, MJ and PiP, Dunc and Parker, etc…) when the right supporting cast is in place. Imagine if Houston just concentrated on getting a stronger bench, retain pivotal FA’s, and develop the young kids…they would be looking pretty good. Howard, theoretically, should be a 28/14 guy…but personally, I dislike Howard…so I’m glad they bombed in the FA market…ya know what, forget everything i just said…F the Rockets.

    • duhwighthoward - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:24 PM

      Howard, average 28 points a game? What is the name of the theory you’re subscribing to?

      Duhwight is more likely to impregnate 28 girls during his tenure in Houston. Fake azz Christian

      • loungefly74 - Jul 16, 2014 at 3:37 PM

        there are only a handful of true big men in the game. The theory that if used properly, big men should dominate the paint. If DH had his head on straight and was the focal point…28 ppg is not a stretch. he has only averaged 11 shots a game for his career. If he rose that up to 20-24 shots…with his 58% FG…28 can be done.

      • eugenesaxe1 - Jul 16, 2014 at 3:50 PM

        He *should* be scoring at will. Nobody in the league could stop him if he put forth the effort and had a system built around him.

      • ProBasketballPundit - Jul 16, 2014 at 10:24 PM

        Dwight’s mom is more likely to have 28 miscarriages this season.

  15. rajbais - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    The quote should have been “Morey’s and his numbers have to go.”

  16. shadowgamesshades - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    Michael should be saying “I have to actually coach”.

    • shadowgamesshades - Jul 16, 2014 at 2:39 PM

      *mchale

  17. jammer73 - Jul 16, 2014 at 4:49 PM

    Sounds like McHale got a jump start on his excuse list for getting canned next season.

  18. frankyvito - Jul 16, 2014 at 8:12 PM

    What kind of coach says “we’ll see” when asked if the team would be better by playoffs? Isn’t that partly his job? I’ll tell you what kind: a bad one.

  19. mazblast - Jul 17, 2014 at 12:09 AM

    McHale was a very good player who was fortunate enough to be on a big-market team that was one of the league’s best, thanks in small part to him but more because of the other guys on the team.

    Since then, as a GM and as a coach, I just get the feeling that he’s out of his element, that he’s just…not…that…bright.

  20. elcapitan1019 - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:50 AM

    What McHale is looking at is a team that was once a top 4 team and he’s now looking at a borderline playoff teams, given how the other playoff teams have improved. He has got to do, now, his best coaching job ever, with no experience on the bench, in fact, he doesn’t HAVE a bench, save Jones and the D-League flash in the pan. Asik will very much be missed, given how Dwight gets into foul trouble. Lin may have not been the greatest defender, but on offense he was another story. So, now the Rockets have no reliable PG or C off the bench.

    Let’s compare Ariza and Parsons, who will also be missed. Sure, Ariza came at just a little over half the price, BUT you Rockets fans are forgetting that Morey could have had Parsons for UNDER a million but chose not to. Ariza hit 3s at a higher rate, 40.7% v.s. 37%, but he took almost 100 3s MORE than Parsons, 442 to 351. Do any of you see him taking that many 3s with Harden the ball hog around? I don’t. PLUS, consider that Ariza averaged 14.4ppg v.s. Parsons 16.6, which means Parsons was much more efficient than Ariza excluding the 3 pt. shooting. Parsons is also 4 years younger, and it is bad practice to let go of players you drafted and turned into solid NBA talent.

    The sad part is that McHale will be made the scapegoat, not the one who really deserves it, Morey.

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