As I looked over the Rockets current roster, I began to wonder how did this team end up with 16 players under contract with still 3 first round draft picks yet to sign, an offer sheet to Omer Asik still in the works and a supposed handshake agreement with Ish Smith. I was also intrigued by the fact that Houston holds the draft rights to 9 different players and owns a plethora of future draft picks. The mind of Daryl Morey is certainly a fascinating one and so I began to dive into the history of the world's new favorite GM, sorry Kahn. Quick trivia, the only assets that still remain from before Morey's tenure are the draft rights to Venson Hamilton, a retired forward from Nebraska, and Kyle Hill, who most recently played in Spain's third division.
Morey took over as GM on May 6th, 2007. He inherited a 52 win team who lost in the first round of playoffs for the third time in four years. The team was headlined by two stars, Tracy McGrady & Yao Ming, and not much else. It was obvious that something needed to change for the Rockets to get over the hump. 36 days into his tenure he made his first trade. He sent Juwan Howard to Minnesota for Mike James and Justin Reed. Not a real monster but it was the first piece of the puzzle coming together. Below I'll look at all of the moves that led to the current Houston Rockets roster and assets we see today.
Draft Night 2007. Morey made his first career draft pick and stole point guard Aaron Brooks with the 26th overall selection. Next he bought Orlando's second round pick, number 54 overall, and selected Brad Newley. Newley is unknown to most in the NBA world but is significant here because he becomes the first player that Morey acquired that actually is still with the team, well kind of. He continued by giving up his 2008 second round pick to Seattle for the rights to Carl Landry. Not a bad start.
Off Season 2007. Two weeks later he sent the rights to Vassillis Spanoulis, a 2009 second round pick (turned out to be Nando De Colo) & cash to Spurs for Jackie Butler and the rights to Luis Scola. And we're off!!
Trade Deadline 2008. The Rockets were riding a 10 game winning streak and sitting at 34-20. Morey worked a 3 team deal to bring Bobby Jackson along with what would become the 54th pick in the upcoming draft. He also dumped Kirk Snyder, a future 2nd rd pick & cash to Minnesota for Gerald Green. Green would be waived about two weeks later. The moves seem to work as Houston ran off 12 more wins in a row before the Celtics stopped their streak at 22. The Rockets would finish the season with 55 wins but ended up as the 5th seed in the west. They would go on to lose in the first round, once again, to the Utah Jazz.
Draft Night 2008. Morey selected Nicolas Batum at number 25 in the first round and grabbed Maarty Leunen at 54 with the second round pick he acquired in the Bobby Jackson deal. Batum was then flipped to Portland in a 3 team deal that netted Joey Dorsey, Donte Greene and a 2009 second round pick. Probably not the best move in hindsight but again Morey found a steal in the late first round.
Off Season 2008. The month of August brought on 4 more trades. First, Steve Novak was shipped to the Clippers for the right to swap 2011 second round picks. Next, Bobby Jackson, Donte Greene, a 2009 first rd pick and cash were sent to Sacramento for Ron Artest, Sean Singletary & Patrick Ewing Jr. Singletary was then shipped to Phoenix for D.J. Strawberry and Ewing was sent to the Knicks for the rights to Frederic Weis.
Trade Deadline 2009. Going right back to work, Morey stole Kyle Lowry in a 3 team deal that also netted Brian Cook in exchange for Rafer Alston. He would later sign James White, the new NY forward.
Draft Night 2009. Morey sent a 2012 second rd pick (top 40 protected) to Minnesota for the rights to Chase Budinger. Then sent cash for the rights to both Jermaine Taylor and Sergio Llull in separate deals.
Off Season 2009. Trevor Ariza was signed to a 5 year 34 million dollar deal before a future 2nd rd pick (top 40 protected) was sent to Atlanta for the rights to David Andersen. That September, James White was flipped to Denver for the rights to Axel Hervelle. So far all of Morey's moves have netted zero players on the current roster but 5 players who the Rockets still hold rights to.
Trade Deadline 2010. Shockingly, another 3 team trade. This was the one that sent Tracy McGrady to the Knicks. The Rockets also gave up Carl Landry, Joey Dorsey & cash for Kevin Martin, Hilton Armstrong, Jordan Hill, Jared Jeffries and the Knicks 2012 first round pick. Finally, we've found the longest tenured Rocket, hold on...checking...okay he's not traded, yet.
Draft Night 2010. Patrick Patterson is selected with the 14th overall pick. That's it. Boring.
Off Season 2010. Morey used July to re-sign both Lowry & Scola to long term deals while also bringing in Brad Miller. David Andersen was flipped to Toronto for the Clippers 2015 2nd rd pick (only if pick is between 51-55). Later, a 4 team trade sent out Trevor Ariza and brought back Courtney Lee. Ish Smith was signed 12 days later.
In Season 2010. Jermaine Taylor was dumped with cash to Sacramento and Terrence Williams was acquired from the Nets in a 3 team deal. Houston gave up the rights to Serhiy Lishchuk and what would become their 2013 1st round pick (top 14 protected) which is now owned by Atlanta thanks to the Joe Johnson trade. Sorry, getting off track here.
Trade Deadline 2011. Aaron Brooks was sent to Phoenix for Goran Dragic and a 2011 1st round pick. Shane Battier & Ish Smith were sent to Memphis for Hasheem Thabeet, DeMarre Carroll, a 2013 1st rd pick (top 14 protected) and cash.
Draft Night 2011. Morey drafted Marcus Morris at number 14, Nikola Mirotic at number 23 and Chandler Parsons at #38 (the right to swap pick in the Steve Novak deal). Mirotic & Parsons were quickly swapped along with Brad Miller and Memphis' 2013 1st rounder for Jonny Flynn, the rights to Donatas Motiejunas and a 2012 2nd round pick. Morey quickly traded a protected 2012 2nd round pick back to Minnesota to re-acquire the rights to Chandler Parsons.
Off Season 2011. Jeremy Lin was claimed off waivers from Golden State and promptly waived. Greg Smith was also signed and waived before the season. Samuel Dalembert was signed to a 2 year 13.7 million dollar contract.
In Season 2012. Greg Smith was signed for the remainder of the season.
Trade Deadline 2012. Jordan Hill was traded to the Lakers for Derek Fisher and Dallas' 2013 1st rd pick (top 20 protected). Hasheem Thabeet, Jonny Flynn and Minnesota's 2nd rd pick from the Brad Miller trade were sent to Portland for Marcus Camby.
In Season 2012 Part 2. Courtney Fortson & Diamon Simpson were signed and Derek Fisher & Terrence Williams were waived.
Pre-Draft Night 2012. Chase Budinger was shipped out to Minnesota for the number 18 pick. Samuel Dalembert and the 14th pick were sent to Milwaukee for Jon Brockman, Shaun Livingston, Jon Leuer and the number 12 pick.
Draft Night 2012. Morey selects Jeremy Lamb at 12, Royce White at 16 (the pick acquired from New York in the McGrady deal) and Terrence Jones at 18. The next day Morey worked his way into a 4 team trade that netted him the rights to Furkan Aldemir for cash in the deal that sent Lamar Odom back to the Clippers.
Off Season 2012. Motiejunas was officially signed then in 9 days, this happened. Kyle Lowry was traded to the Raptors for Gary Forbes and Toronto's 2013 1st rd pick (top 3 protected). Then, Marcus Camby was sent to the Knicks for Toney Douglas, Jerome Jordan, Josh Harrellson, New York's 2014 2nd rd pick & New York's 2015 2nd rd pick. The next day Luis Scola was amnestied. Next, Josh Harrellson was waived. The Knicks refused to match Jeremy Lin's 3 year 25.1 million dollar offer sheet. Jon Leuer and Jerome Jordan were waived. Courtney Lee was sent to Boston in a 3 team deal that netted JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore, Sean Williams, Charlotte's 2013 2nd rd pick (via BOS, via OKC) & the rights to Jon Diebler.
As of now, we are awaiting word on whether or not the Bulls will match Morey's offer sheet to Omer Asik and there was also word early in summer league that Ish Smith would be signed by Houston.
If Houston fails to land Dwight Howard they will still have a treasure trove of assets moving forward. Their roster is full of very exciting, young players, they could have 3 first round picks next year as well as a high 2nd rounder, they own the draft rights of 3 youngsters playing in major European leagues plus another 3 in their mid to late twenties who all played at the highest level in Europe last year and could possibly see the NBA in theory. Some people will say Morey messed up if the Rockets can't trade for Dwight Howard but I don't believe that. I say watch out because Morey is locked and loaded with assets and that can only mean future excitement in Houston, and another multi-team trade, of course.
PLAYERS UNDER CONTRACT
- Jon Brockman
- Toney Douglas
- Gary Forbes
- Courtney Fortson
- JaJuan Johnson
- Jeremy Lin
- Shaun Livingston
- Kevin Martin
- E'Twaun Moore
- Marcus Morris
- Donatas Motiejunas
- Chandler Parsons
- Patrick Patterson
- Diamon Simpson
- Greg Smith
- Sean Williams
ROOKIES YET TO SIGN
- Terrence Jones
- Jeremy Lamb
- Royce White
- Omer Asik
- Ish Smith
DRAFT RIGHTS HELD
- Furkan Aldemir
- Jon Diebler
- Venson Hamilton
- Axel Hervelle
- Kyle Hill
- Maarty Leunen
- Sergio Llull
- Brad Newley
- Frederic Weis
FUTURE DRAFT PICKS DUE
- 2013 1st rd pick from Dallas (top 20 protected)
- 2013 1st rd pick from Toronto (top 3 protected)
- 2013 2nd rd pick from Charlotte
- 2014 2nd rd pick from New York
- 2015 2nd rd pick from L.A. Clippers (only if pick is between 51-55)
- 2015 2nd rd pick from New York
FUTURE DRAFT PICKS OWED
- 2013 1st rd pick to Atlanta (top 14 protected)
- 2013 2nd rd pick to Atlanta (top 40 protected)