Houston Rockets general manager Rafael Stone held a press conference today for media members. Stone spoke about the team's direction, the two trades that the Rockets made before the deadline and what he expects going forward. Here are some highlights from that meeting as he answered our questions.
Update from today's press conference
I asked Stone about the young player's development and if he was satisfied with their progress.
“No, we’re greedy we want them to be great players, and they are not there yet. No, the goal is not to be ok. It’s not to be improving it’s to be great. We like them, we like their work effort.”
Stone went on to say, "we all have a lot of work to do." It seems Stone understands the team is young and has a long way to go, but he expects nothing less than greatness from his young core. The rest of this season seems like an audition for many players as the team transitions from rebuilding to competing next season.
Stone was asked whether they improved the team during this season's trade deadline.
We’re going to have a lot of room to sign free agents and make trades into that space to really transform the team.”
The Rockets will have over $60 million in cap space next season, and with them not having their own pick, the incentive to go all out to win will be at an all-time high next season. The Rockets were not looking to add players who would eat into their cap next season. Stone and the Rockets value cap flexibility going into the off-season, as they expect a much-improved team next season.
Stone was also asked what went into the thought of trading Eric Gordon for a draft pick swap.
We picked seven guys in the first round the last couple of years. I think we're probably at a point where we very much quality over quantity.
A lot of our focus is on trade value and not just trying to bring in another young guy. That flexibility is an enormous part of our planning on a going forward basis.
With the emphasis on winning next season, the Rockets aren't looking to add more draft picks, which would mean more young players that need time to develop. Instead, they are looking to bring in more veterans and players ready to hit the ground running.
Stone is optimistic but expects a lot more of their young players. They will evaluate the entire team for the rest of this season and make some hard decisions this off-season. That goes for the coaching staff as well, even though the question about Coach Silas's future was not answered.