Before the Houston Rockets took on the New York Knicks, the media heard from Rockets General Manager Rafael Stone as he discussed the recent NBA Trade Deadline and the current state of the team.
Stone was asked about his evaluation of the current roster, about the Steven Adams trade, if the team will be active in the buyout market and if the team has met his expectations to start the season.
I asked Stone if the Rockets will be active in the buyout market, considering the team has placed more of an emphasis on winning this season.
I asked Rafael Stone if the Rockets will be active in the buyout market— Lachard Binkley (@BinkleyHoops) February 12, 2024
“Will look at the buyout market and if something makes sense we might do something but primarily we are focused on the guys currently on the roster”. pic.twitter.com/A8oEhGnVvP
First impression: It doesn't seem the Rockets are focused on the buyout market, but they would make a move if it made sense for the team. There aren't a lot of free agents currently that fit with the current roster. The Rockets are still thin at the center position and need shooting. Going by those two criteria, Seth Curry and Robin Lopez are the only players that make sense.
The problem is veteran free agents at this point of the season normally would go to teams who are serious championship contenders. The Rockets, for many years, were at the top of the list when it came to buyout candidates, but even with an improved season so far, not many people would consider them championship contenders. That may be part of the reason Stone seemed less than enthusiastic about bringing in anyone at this point of the season.
Stone was also asked about the development of the players on the team, specifically the young players. Stone talked about Jalen Green and how his development has gone so far, as he is halfway through year three.
Here Rafael Stone talks about the development of Jalen Green— Lachard Binkley (@BinkleyHoops) February 13, 2024
“He has a skill that isn’t really replicated on our roster”. pic.twitter.com/Erj6IMDDwI
Stone also mentioned that they demand their players continue to develop and improve their game no matter who it is. Stone also said that even judging himself, it hasn't been good enough and that the front office and the players have to improve. Stone said that overall, he is happy with the team's moves over the offseason, and they wanted to stay flexible going into this upcoming offseason to make more moves this summer.
The Rockets are currently in 12th place in the Western Conference standings and are three games out of a play-in spot. The All-Star break is perfect for a team struggling with major injuries. The Rockets look to get back into the win column as they take on the New York Knicks Monday night at the Toyota Center.
Full press conference on the Rocket Fuel YouTube page.