Monday, former NBA players Amar’e Stoudemire and Monta Ellis, along with others, held a private workout in Las Vegas in hopes of possibly making a league comeback. 14 teams, nearly half the league, were in attendance to see what the two had to offer.
LA Lakers, Golden State, NY Knicks, OKC, Milwaukee, Detroit, Washington, Sacramento, Denver, Portland, Orlando, Atlanta, Minnesota, LA Clippers were all in attendance with over 15 European and Asian clubs. https://t.co/XpBhT6rRI4 pic.twitter.com/Ds94QHDEo0— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 9, 2019
Houston wasn’t one of them.
This might come as a surprise to a lot of people. There are plenty of you right now reading this and saying that it shouldn’t be a surprise — it’s clear both guys don’t have a lot to offer a contender. I would say that’s not necessarily the case.
This past offseason, Houston’s aggressiveness and near-desperate (OK, actually desperate) need to stay competitive have landed them some questionable catch-and-release free agents. There’s also the glaring holes in Houston’s game. They have a severe lack of bigs and rebounding. Amar’e potentially fills that void. At times, Houston can go cold and need players outside of James Harden, Chris Paul, and Eric Gordon to create their own shot. Both Ellis and Stoudemire were prolific scorers during their time.
So, if this is all the case, the question is: Why not? Why not give them just a look? A look can’t possibly hurt.
The answer: Houston learned its lesson.
The Rockets banked their last season on potential and fixer-uppers. Marquese Chriss, Brandon Knight, and Michael Carter-Williams were once guys with huge upsides and, indeed, had the physical prowess to make a difference on the court right now with the correct development. All three were traded.
More apropos of the players at hand was the signing of Carmelo Anthony. Anthony, like the two, was a veteran who had his time. Now officially a player getting bounced around, the Rockets learned the hard way why Melo is on the fringe of possibly becoming a journeyman.
Why not? Because the Rockets aren’t giving it the time of day any longer. Humoring player projects is not an option. Instead, Houston has done a great job of re-signing their key, established rotation players: Austin Rivers, Danuel House Jr., and Gerald Green. They’ve also kept their core lineup, including all their starters, intact.
The Houston Rockets still have a mid-level exception, and it looks like they’re going to weigh their options before they throw it around.