Let me get this out of my system first; The Rockets will not be able to trade for Chris Paul or Dwight Howard this year and get them to agree to an extension. Are you really ready to be a bottom feeder for the next five or six years for a season or less rental of either of those guys? With how scared some of you are here of rebuilding, I'm thinking the answer to this question is a resounding no.
Now that this is out of the way, let me get on with an alternate plan to the rebuilding article I got out on Monday. This isn't a quick fix or anything like that, but rather a better plan than putting all of our eggs in the Nene basket. If we're looking for a big man to build around for the next six to ten years, a 29 year old 4/5 hybrid with a mediocre post game isn't the guy to do it with. Add Nene to that 22 win streak Rockets team after they lost Yao and yes, I would do that in a flash. But on this team, that's not the guy to start over with. The Rockets need to go young and they need to do so via the draft and possibly a big trade/sign and trade deal. And to do that, I recommend looking looking West to Los Angeles.
My theory, which is already more conclusive than the Warren Commission, is after the jump.
By now, most of you know where I am going with this. I've made it no big secret of my approval for the team to go after Clippers restricted free agent big man DeAndre Jordan. The first thing I get with every person I talk to about it is "But he's restricted. He isn't going anywhere." But do we really know that? Restricted free agents go elsewhere all the time in sports. It's all about the team who currently has them and where they fit into their future plans. Here is why I think DeAndre Jordan might be more available via sign and trade than most of you think.
The Clippers have made it no big secret that they are going to "go hard after Dwight Howard." That doesn't sound like a team that is happy with having DeAndre Jordan as their center of the future after Chris Kaman's current contract expires at the end of the season. However, they're not about to let a 23 year old center with potential through the roof just walk for nothing. But to those of you now using the ammunition to derail my argument that he will be sign and trade bait to the Magic for Howard, I got a plan.
Say that the Clips do plan to use DeAndre Jordan in a potential trade to Orlando, but the Rockets sign him to a decent sized offer sheet. Then, as updated, the Clippers have three days to match. However, if they do match the offer and retain Jordan, they are unable to use him in a trade until three months later, at the earliest (this is under the old rules, that to my knowledge have not changed with the new agreement). This would take one of their biggest trade chips for Howard off the table while his other suitors, and there are a lot of them, have three months to make better offers. Also, if they don't match the offer, which is possible with their cheap ass owner, the Rockets get their man anyways.
So the Clippers better option might be to work out a sign and trade for Jordan with a team that has expirings, young talent and/or assets that they could flip to Orlando for Dwight. The Rockets have all three to offer.
It might not be the most fool proof plan out there, but I like it much more than going after Nene. I know a few of the others on staff here at The Dream Shake disagree and aren't big DeAndre Jordan fans due to his intelligence, but the last time I checked Hakeem isn't walking through that door. They don't make 5's the way they used to and Jordan would be a much better piece to build around that a guy like Nene who you would be looking to dump by the third year into his deal.
Regardless of being a hometown guy, which means approximately nothing to me, he has hops, can rebound and is a terrific shot blocker. And need I bring up again that he's only 23? I think a nucleus of DeAndre and Kyle Lowry is a good starting point in a rebuild that might not take as long as it has for some other teams. If not, we could always resign Chuck Hayes to play 66 games at center this season. Personally, I'm not a fan of that decision.
If the Clippers say he's not available, fine. But at least make the effort instead of throwing stupid money and years at Nene.