First of all, welcome back, Dream Shakers. It's been a long time and up until about four hours ago when I got into a twitter battle over this topic, I really had no interest in the NBA yet this season. A 150 day lockout and a winning NFL team in your city will do that.
When I look at the Rockets roster, it doesn't exactly get me all jacked up to watch some hoops. Yes, there is exciting players and they play team ball, yada yada yada. But after two years of it, it's quite clear that it isn't working. Which is why I'm against anything but a rebuild for this franchise. I'll elaborate after the jump.
If Richard Justice is to be believed, if Daryl Morey is unable to convince Nuggets center Nene to leave Denver for Houston, a rebuild is right where they're headed. Actually, let me step aside and give you the words from the man himself:
They’re going all out for free-agent center Nene. He’s 29 years old and coming off a season in which he averaged 14.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Nene is 6-11, 250 pounds, and Morey believes putting him in a lineup with Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin would give the Rockets three to build around. If Morey doesn’t get him, they could again be fighting for the eighth seed, far from being a team capable of winning in the playoffs. They’d be entertaining and all that, but they wouldn’t be where Leslie Alexander wants them to be. That’s where the tough decision comes in. If they can’t land an impact player in free agency, is it time to rebuild and position themselves for Anthony Davis or Andre Drummond or another high draft pick next summer?
It's quite an interesting scenario, really, and we won't have to wait long to find out. With the season starting in less than a month from today, free agency is expected to start around December 9th. Much like the NFL after the lockout ended, expect to see a wave of moves around the league. What I'm most interested in is to see if any team uses this new Amnesty Clause that allows a team to dump a bad contract...sort of. They are still on the hook for his salary, but the cap hit will be taken off the sheet. Is this something the Rockets would be interested in? Maybe.
I think they will be more interested in who becomes a free agent from another team after using said clause rather than using it on their own roster. They still want to build around Kyle Lowry and he isn't making stupid money, really, so I think he's safe. The one guy I could see it happening to is Luis Scola, but I tend to think that Daryl Morey believes he can get SOMETHING for him in return. But back to the rebuild.
If the Nene story by Justice is fact and not just his speculation, I have to say that I'm not on board with that plan. First of all, I don't think he leaves Denver unless you just knock him over with an offer. Then, if you do that, you're hitching your wagon to a guy who is less than a year from 30 and isn't exactly the type of guy who is going to lead you to a title. Nene is a piece, not a star. Would he fit well with the Rockets? Absolutely. I'd be ecstatic with just about any guy starting at the five for this team who is taller than 6'6". No offense to Chuck, I love ya brother, but I can't take another full season of that.
If they're going to spend that kind of money, I'd rather they put in a sick offer for DeAndre Jordan that the Clippers won't be willing to match. However, I'm still in the camp that believes we should dump Scola, trade Kevin Martin for draft considerations, let the youngsters play this season and rebuild through the draft. You got the Knicks first rounder this season and it's supposedly a deep draft due to the lockout uncertainty last year. Develop the young guys, get good draft picks and assess free agency next year.
I want to see what Daryl Morey can do with this roster when he doesn't have the albatross Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady contracts restricting his every move. I've heard there are supposed to be some pretty good guys out there in the free agency pool in 2012. Which is why I'm going to have to say No No to Nene.