When July 1st comes, the Rockets will likely meet with Dwight Howard with a pitch involving James Harden, Chandler Parsons, Chandler Parsons' hair, and Jeremy Lin to try and sway him to come to Houston. Daryl Morey will step in front of a projector and show off the future championship rings Howard can win, the immense financial benefits to playing in Houston, and then gently massage Howard's abnormally large shoulders until he and Dan Fegan agree to come to Houston. That much has been known. But now, Jonathan Feigen reports that the Rockets' July 1st plans will also include another All-Star, Chris Paul.
Here's Feigen's story for the Houston Chronicle:
Howard has generated by far the most attention as a Rockets free-agent target, but the team plans a similar and simultaneous pursuit of Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul, a person with knowledge of the Rockets' thinking said. According to another individual familiar with the team's plans, "they are targets No. 1 and 1A."
The difference is there have been far more indications Howard, a 6-11 center, will be receptive to the Rockets' recruiting efforts. Although it is too early to know if Paul, a 6-0 guard, is disinterested or keeping his thoughts private, the Rockets have gone through detailed preparations to chase both.
Rockets players James Harden and Chandler Parsons have spoken with Howard about the Rockets and playing in Houston. Harden is even closer to Paul from their time together on the USA Basketball senior national team.
But Howard's interest in the Rockets also could point to the difficulty in landing Paul.
According to an individual with knowledge of Howard's thinking, Howard has been interested in playing for Rockets coach Kevin McHale and assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff, citing among other things.
Well, there's a shocker. There is an All-Star on the free agent market and the Rockets are interested? That's totally contrary to Daryl Morey's modus operandi.
Now, before speculation starts to grow that the Rockets can because despite speculation to the contrary on unnamed message boards, it would take an extraordinary feat of cap clearing to do so, one that a Rockets source confirmed is nearly impossible in practice. Theoretically, is it possible? Yes. Is it going to happen? I'm willing to say with near absolute certainty that it will not.
Getting back to landing Paul alone, we can all agree that that s nothing more than due diligence on the Rockets' part. When you have a chance to land an All-Star without giving up anything in return, you have to make every attempt to do so, and that's what the Rockets are doing. Morey has gotten criticized in recent years for failing to land a big free agent, but that's simply because he's willing to put himself out there and go for the low probability lottery tickets where other GM's would make no effort. In the end, he's no worse off if he doesn't land the free agent, and in that 1 in a 100 shot that he does, he's transformed the team forever.
Daryl Morey is probably not going to land Chris Paul. In fact, I think it's jumping the gun to say that he has anything better than even odds to get Dwight Howard. He's just doing his job and if you are sick of the "false hope" for improvement, go become a Bobcats fan so you never have to worry about false hope again.