After the Golden State Warriors ran roughshod over the rest of the NBA during this year’s postseason, and closed out their biggest rival, the Cleveland Cavaliers, in a mere 5 games, the topic of NBA conversation immediately moves on to “How does anyone beat the Warriors next season?”
ESPN’s Zach Lowe discussed this very matter with some of the league’s GMs, including the Rockets’ Daryl Morey, and the Big D had some pretty interesting things to say about his plans to combat the Dubs.
Perhaps the most prominent bit of Lowe’s talk with Morey, was Daryl’s admission that, in true Morey fashion, he has something potentially big in the cards, if he can manage to pull it off. He told Lowe:
"They are not unbeatable. There have been bigger upsets in sports history. We are going to keep improving our roster... We are used to long odds. If Golden State makes the odds longer, we might up our risk profile and get even more aggressive. We have something up our sleeve."
So now the next question becomes, what exactly could he have up his sleeve? The Rockets don’t have a ton a cap space when it comes to free agency. They have $87.6 million in guaranteed contracts, and the total could be higher depending on what decisions they make with Nene, Troy Williams, Isaiah Taylor, Kyle Wiltjer.
The projected cap sits at $102 million ($122 million for the luxury tax), so the Rockets could have anywhere from $6 million to $14 million to play with. It’s enough to make an addition, but not likely enough to make a major difference, at least when it comes to matching up with Golden State.
The Rockets were linked to Danilo Gallinari at times this past season, and now that the 6’10” forward has officially opted out of his contract, the upper end of the potential money available in Houston might be enough to get it done. Gallinari made $15 million last season with Denver. The Rockets are obviously a better situation for winning than the Nuggets, but Gallinari likely wants a raise. Plus, Houston would still need another piece.
The most likely move for Morey is in the trade market, and he has plenty of ammunition to get something done. In my eyes, the only untouchables on the Houston roster are James Harden, Pat Beverley and Clint Capela. That leaves Trevor Ariza, Lou Williams, Eric Gordon, Montrezl Harrell, Sam Dekker and Ryan Anderson (despite his difficult contract) as potential pieces to swing a deal. Morey can get something done with that.
So what say you, Rockets fans? What move do you think Morey has “up his sleeve”? Who would you like to see in H-town to help the Rockets match up with Golden State (and San Antonio)?