As was abundantly clear from my post yesterday morning, I was more than a little bummed out to see the news of Dwight Howard's trade to Los Angeles. I was devastated. Simply devastated. With my anger and complete exhaustion peeling away at whatever shreds of rationality I had left, I wrote this dandy of a paragraph:
Daryl Morey is like the guy who traded a paperclip all the way to a house, but decided at the last second that he'd prefer the 14 million paperclips instead of the house. Dwight Howard might be his biggest loss yet.
If you follow what I write here on The Dream Shake, you'd know that I'm a very positive person when it comes to Daryl Morey and the Rockets in general. I just couldn't shake this feeling that Daryl Morey would seriously regret missing out on Howard in a few years as the team floundered without a star player.
Jump for more, as I try to explain the idiocy of the past few days and what's next for the Rockets.
Just as I thought I couldn't get any angrier, I read this, where Jonathan Feigen answers a number of questions yet unanswered about the Rockets' pursuit of Dwight Howard. And the anger I felt turned to amusement.
The Rockets had tried to position themselves for this opportunity, offering the Toronto pick they got for Kyle Lowry along with a pick from Dallas, and they were open to adding a pick of their own. They would have sent two players from among Patrick Patterson, Marcus Morris, Donatas Motiejunas, Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrence Jones. And they would have taken back two large Orlando contracts - Hedo Turkoglu and Chris Duhon or Jason Richardson - without sending back corresponding burdensome contracts to offer the Magic roughly $12 million more in cap room than they have now.
The Magic had seemed to want cap room and picks most, but at some point they shifted to seeking a potential star player and decided Arron Afflalo would be that player, making him the key to the deal. That left the Rockets on the outside looking in, building around their collection of young players and picks while continuing the search.
If you're keeping score at home, the Rockets were willing to:
1. Take back Hedo Turkoglu, the worst contract of the bunch, along with one of the other toxic contracts
2. Give up better young players, including a pair of prospects with more star potential than Arron Afflalo
3. Give the Magic $12 million more in cap room, and would not need the Magic to take back Al Harrington's contract
4. Give up far superior draft picks, including a guaranteed lottery pick
Instead, the Magic passed up on this offer, preferring to take a package headlined by Arron Afflalo, who has over $30 million guaranteed left on his contract and has yet to manage even a league average PER in his career. Afflalo is a nice defensive player with catch-and-shoot skills, but his efficiency waned last season as he was asked to take on a larger role.
On a good team, Afflalo is a valuable player. But a "potential star"? Laughable. If the Magic were looking for a star player, they should have looked no further than Donatas Motiejunas or Jeremy Lamb, a pair of young players with that potential down the road.
As Rahat Huq of Red94 said, one thing is clear: Rob Hennigan is a complete idiot. Rahat perhaps sums it up best:
When she leaves you for a doctor, you tip your hat. But the ugly guy with no money? All you can do is laugh.
So yes, Rockets' fans, all you can do is laugh at this point. Morey has had his star player taken away by a trade veto from a heavy handed commissioner, an opt-in from an unstable superstar, and now by an inexperienced buffoon running the operations in Orlando. At some point, he has to catch a break.
Maybe Chase Budinger will tell Kevin Love that Houston is a pretty chill place to live for a California bro like himself, or Morey will go out drinking with Chris Paul and James Harden at the Olympics to convince them to come to Houston next summer.
And if not, let's try to enjoy the ride as much as we can. If that ride brings us to Nerlens Noel or Shabazz Muhammad, even better.