A year after trading James Harden, Rockets committed to rebuilding path

SAN ANTONIO – In many ways, the trade that changed rockets forever seemed like much more than just a year ago.

Thursday’s first anniversary of the deal that sent James Harden to Brooklyn in a three-team swap couldn’t have been celebrated, as the rebuilding process is still in its difficult and sometimes crazy nascent stages, even if marked, as it were. A year ago, a surprise victory over Tottenham. But the deal a year ago provided a fine line between what missiles are and what they hope to become.

“It seemed like a long time, a long time ago. A long time ago,” said Rockets coach Stephen Silas. “That was the beginning when I first got here. There has been a lot since then. Most of the players on the roster (last season the NBA scored 30 players), all the injuries we had, the draft pick, and now our direction in terms of developing these guys is very different from the one we had this time last year.

“For a calendar year to go by and have two seasons and completely different directions, ways of doing things, I think, it’s like it’s been ages ago.”

One year after they traded at number 13 on the 13th, they completely adopted the path set that day. But while it may have seemed a long time ago that the Rockets were in the headlines, chasing a championship and making the most shaky deals in the NBA rather than starting their long way back, the trend-changing trade stays with them every day. day.

They still had to cash in on the proceeds in the deal, opting to pull three picks from the unprotected Nets and the right to swap draw locations with Brooklyn in four more drafts, along with another first-round pick (Bucks from the Cavaliers) as the primary payout for the franchise’s face. The Rockets experimented with ex-star Victor Oladipo before trading him a month later.

But the deal marked the beginning of a transformation, from being involved in the championship endeavors to rebuilding. The Rockets have never looked back, even when looking at the trade.

“We are organizationally committed to the road,” General Manager Raphael Stone said. “I think I’m talking not just about myself but about Tillman (Fertita, the franchisee who gave the green light for a change in direction): We’re smart people, and we knew this wasn’t going to be easy. Great things aren’t supposed to be easy.”

“If you want to accomplish something great, it won’t always be fun. We know that, but we definitely think we’re on the right track. We don’t think we’ve come to the end of that path in any way.”

A year later, they’re first, having recruited four teens – Galen Green, Alperin Senghun, Osman Garuba and Josh Christopher – into the first round and committed to developing Kevin Porter Jr. as a base guard.

The Rockets chose that direction long before the draft when they chose pickups rather than veterans, most notably redirecting former Nets center Jarrett Allen to Cleveland for an additional pick.

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