Rockets GM Daryl Morey explains why Chris Paul not on trading block

Rockets GM Daryl Morey explains why Chris Paul not on trading block

Back on May 29, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the following:

Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has made his entire roster and future draft picks available in trade talks, a dramatic initiative with hopes of reshaping the team into a championship contender, league sources told ESPN.

On Tuesday morning, Morey was a guest on The Dan Patrick Show and was asked if he wants to change his team this offseason.

"We're very aggressive," Morey said. "I actually called Woj after his story came out saying we're changing everything. And I was like, 'Really? Is that news that we're gonna be aggressive to try and get better and do a trade if it makese sense?'

"We've generated a lot of clicks in the last few weeks for some reason."

For some reason? Since the Rockets lost to the Warriors in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals, there have been a plethora of stories coming out of Houston.

And for good reason, actually.

So what does Morey mean when he says that Houston is very aggressive?

"The main thing is that we're going after one of these top free agents and because of that, it's probably gonna have to be a trade," Morey revealed. "It has to be through sign-and-trade."

Houston's general manager then made it very clear that James Harden and Chris Paul are not available via trade.

"We were the best team down the stretch. We've spent a lot of time putting together two superstars. We're trying to add a third," Morey said. "Going backward from that doesn't make a lot of sense to us."

Perhaps Paul was on the trading block three weeks ago when Woj issued his report, but things have changed? Perhaps CP3 is still available, but Morey doesn't want to declare that publicly?

On Monday, ESPN's Tim MacMahon reported that Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta "has grumbled about Paul's contract, expressing regret to Rockets staffers and even in front of rival executives, according to league sources."

Paul has three more seasons remaining on his deal:

--2019-20 = $38,506,482
--2020-21 = $41,358,814
--2021-22 = $44,211,146 (player option that will assuredly be exercised)

By saying that Harden and Paul are the only two Rockets who will definitely return next season, Morey essentially admitted that Clint Capela, Eric Gordon and PJ Tucker are certainly available in trades.

Not many general managers are this transparent when it comes to future plans.

[RELATEDRaptors' Green reveals what Dubs said after Klay's injury]

Despite all the turmoil in Houston the last six weeks, Morey is very confident about his team's chances next season.

"We can win the title," he declared. "We feel like we're the favorites in the West going into next season and that should be the story."

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Why this ESPN analyst thinks Warriors could be 'terrifying' next year


Why this ESPN analyst thinks Warriors could be 'terrifying' next year

The Warriors will enter the 2019-20 NBA season in unfamiliar territory.

For one, they won't enter the season as title favorites for the first time since lifting the Larry O'Brien Trophy in 2015 after significant roster turnover headlined by Kevin Durant's departure in free agency. For another, they will begin the campaign without star guard Klay Thompson in the opening-night lineup for the first time since 2010 as he recovers from a torn ACL. 

But that isn't enough to write off Golden State as an NBA title contender, according to ESPN's Kirk Goldsberry. 

"I'm not a betting man, but if I were, I'd be all over this bet," Goldsberry wrote in a Friday column, referring to the Warriors opening the season as +1,400 championship favorites according to Caesar's Palace. "Why? Call me crazy, but if Klay Thompson returns to action by March or April, and the Warriors are in the playoffs, they're terrifying."

Placing them in his third tier of championship contenders, Goldsberry noted that the Warriors' experience could give them an edge over other title contenders. He also proposed that sign-and-trade acquisition D'Angelo Russell could "take another leap" under head coach Steve Kerr. Russell, who was an All-Star last season, doesn't have the same defensive upside as Thompson, but gives Golden State another credible scoring threat while one half of the Splash Brothers sits on the sidelines. 

[RELATED: Why Mychal Thompson has MVP expectations for Steph]

That defensive drop-off is what concerns Goldsberry the most, especially with Thompson set to miss so much of the season while Durant and Andre Iguodala are no longer playing in the Bay. The Warriors finished outside of the top 10 in defensive rating in each of the last two seasons despite the presence of all three players on the roster. As NBC Sports Bay Area's Grant Liffmann observed earlier this week, those absences leave the Warriors with a lot of question marks on the defensive end of the court. 

The best-case scenarios for the Warriors next season involve a lot of "ifs." If Russell can effectively fill in for Thompson and if Thompson can return healthy and i the Warriors figure out their defense, then Golden State could be a force in the postseason. The Warriors will have 82 games to figure it all out, but they are still a team few teams would want to face if and when they do. 

Why Mychal Thompson thinks Steph Curry will make 500 3-pointers this year

Why Mychal Thompson thinks Steph Curry will make 500 3-pointers this year

The Warriors' roster turnover this summer has been well-documented, but Mychal Thompson things it will bring out the best in Steph Curry next season.

Curry will have to adjust to life without Kevin Durant next season, after the star signed with the Brooklyn Nets in free agency. The two-time MVP also will miss Klay Thompson -- Mychal's son -- for much of the campaign as the Splash Brother recovers from a torn ACL. Because of that, the elder Thompson thinks Curry has the potential for a record-breaking season in 2019-20.

"Now, they're not going to be as good as they were last year -- and by the way, I predict Steph is going to have 500 3s this year without having to share the ball that much back in the backcourt with Klay," Mychal said Friday on SiriusXM NBA Radio. "So he's going to come back to his MVP form we saw two years ago."

Curry set the NBA's single-season record with 402 made 3-pointers en route to the first unanimous MVP in league history in 2015-16. He did so leading a historic Warriors team that went 73-9, and Klay finished second on Golden State that season with 276 made 3-pointers. 

Klay made 241 -- and attempted 599 -- triples last year, while Curry made 354 and attempted 810. Assuming Thompson returns after the All-Star break, there could be enough touches for Curry to shatter his own record. However, summer acquisition D'Angelo Russell made just seven fewer 3-pointers than Thompson last season. He probably will take fewer shots as the No. 2 option behind Curry to start the season, but Russell's presence probably lowers Curry's record-setting ceiling. 

[RELATED: Steph comments on learning about KD's decision on plane]

Curry unquestionably will have to carry a bigger load for as long as Klay's out next season. But when his son returns, Mychal thinks the Warriors will find themselves on the same level as other Western Conference contenders. 

"[Draymond Green] is motivated to have a great year because his contract year is coming up," the elder Thompson continued.  "So I think [Curry and Green] -- and with the addition of D'Angelo Russell and the other role players that they've signed -- I think they'll be right in the mix. Somewhere between a five [or] six seed until Klay comes back 100 percent, and then they'll be ready to make their move."