The Houston Rockets look primed to shake things up during the 2019 offseason. Houston fell to the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs for the second year in a row, and in response, the Rockets are looking for something to change up. If all goes right, they’ll find a move to improve their squad so they can overcome this hurdle next season.
James Harden is off-limits, while Chris Paul’s gigantic contract makes the veteran point guard tough to move. As such, a new report by Marc Stein of the New York Times in his weekly newsletter states that Houston’s other three starters — Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, and P.J. Tucker — are being discussed in trade talks.
Not only that, but according to Stein, the belief in Houston is that someone(s) from that trio won’t be on the roster when the 2019-20 campaign rolls around.
The Rockets are indeed shopping everyone on the roster not named Harden. The complexities involved in moving Chris Paul, who at age 34 has three years and nearly $125 million left on his contract, have Houston officials actively exploring the trade market for Clint Capela, Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker.
As one source with knowledge of the team’s thinking said, they are operating under the belief that at least one of those three mainstays will not be a Rocket next season.
Capela, Gordon, and Tucker all fill crucial rolls for the Rockets. Despite his struggles against the Warriors, Capela gives Houston a physical presence in the low post who can finish lobs, protect the rim, and inhale rebounds. Gordon is perhaps their most consistent perimeter scorer outside of Harden and is dangerous when defenses focus attention elsewhere, giving him clean looks from deep. Tucker is a warrior who knocks down shots, battles on the glass, and is invaluable in their switch-heavy defensive scheme.
Figuring out potential trades for all three are tough, if only because the Rockets aren’t exactly negotiating from a position of strength. But Houston seems prepared to wheel and deal this offseason, and whether or not this makes their team better remains to be seen.