NBA

The Houston Rockets Are Taking a Calculated Risk With James Harden’s New Teammate

The Houston Rockets have moved through a tough offseason that has seen their internal issues become public knowledge. Houston has attempted to salvage the situation despite the constant trade rumors, which have seen the front office add to the roster. The Rockets’ latest move could prove they are attempting to make one last push to keep James Harden.

The Rockets’ internal issues remain prevalent this offseason

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Since another disappointing second-round playoff exit, the Houston Rockets have continued to crumble internally.

The franchise has lost longtime general manager Daryl Morey while head coach Mike D’Antoni elected not to pick up his deal’s final year. These moves were followed by rumors that both star guards James Harden and Russell Westbrook are demanding trades.

The level of internal dysfunction continues to cloud the franchise with an uncertain future ahead. Even with that being the case, the Rockets have added another former All-Star to the roster to help convince Harden to stay.

The Rockets add DeMarcus Cousins on a one-year deal

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The Rockets have attempted to navigate through the offseason despite the constant concerning internal chatter around the franchise.

Houston has continued to shape the roster through free agency to bring more stability. The front office has taken an interesting move by signing former All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins to a one-year deal, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Cousins missed all of last season due to a torn ACL, which put some serious questions around his NBA future. The Rockets decided to roll the dice by bringing him in on a low-risk move with a short-term inexpensive contract.

Houston has everything to gain from the addition as Cousins could quickly become a significant piece to the puzzle. If he’s any bit of himself before his torn Achilles tendon or even his ACL injury, that will provide a high-impact player.

Cousins has proven that he can create his own offense throughout his career, while his production brings another factor to the Rockets’ scoring punch. The question lies around what type of player he is after two significant injuries over the last couple of years. 

Houston isn’t banking on Cousins to be the missing piece to their championship push, but the opportunity is there for him to prove he can return to All-Star form or better.

An uncertain future lies ahead

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The Rockets have steadily added a stronger frontcourt presence this offseason with DeMarcus Cousins and promising big man Christian Wood.

However, Houston hasn’t demonstrated that they will firmly move forward with their two former league MVPs for another season or at least through the All-Star break. The roster moves that they have taken do suggest that there will be a slight change in offensive philosophy.

The Rockets have operated with a high-tempo offense that emphasizes spacing the floor and shooting 3-pointers. That formula hasn’t worked to the degree hoped with only a pair of Western Conference Finals appearance. The organization is likely hoping shifting things could see Harden and Westbrook better used within the game plan.

There isn’t any clarity if either will be there to start the 2020-21 season, but the roster moves bring forth some sense of direction. The Rockets will likely continue to explore trade talks for Westbrook, but the favorable scenario is that the franchise sticks with their star guards to start the season.

In other words, Houston may be pushing toward one last hurrah to see if they can salvage keeping Harden as their franchise centerpiece.