It was quite an eventful week in the NBA playoffs, with the Houston Rockets' flameout against the Los Angeles Lakers sounding off alarms of future turnover.
As expected, the constructor and coach of the small-ball revolution, Mike D'Antoni, will not return next season with Houston. Which begs the question: Is the Rockets' current roster suitable for another coach moving forward?
Before you start figuring out trades to send Russell Westbrook to other teams to fix the Rockets' woes, remember that he still is owed over $40 million per season for the next three years, and teams are highly unlikely to want that albatross of a contract for a guy that was front and center in the Rockets' postseason demise.
James Harden has been heavily criticized throughout his career for his playoff underperformance, but he's also a consistent MVP candidate who is solely responsible for the team being in position to contend every year. Would the Rockets actually consider moving on from Harden?
"I wouldn't put it past [Daryl Morey] to consider moving James Harden," NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh told NBC Sports Bay Area. "Do I think it is going to happen? I would not bet on it."
"Daryl Morey is as transactional as any GM we have seen in the NBA," Haberstroh continued, "so I think this team that you see right now for Houston, is probably not going to be the team next season."
It is very possible that the Golden State Warriors are keeping a close eye on what Morey decides to do. It has been well-chronicled that Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has been bleeding money during this pandemic, and might be looking to shed some salary off the roster. If so, Haberstroh brings up two Rockets that could fit into the Warriors' massive trade exception: Robert Covington and Eric Gordon.
"These guys are two-way guys that are able to spread the floor and play some defense, and I think that is something that the Golden State Warriors will be interested in, two-way guys that can fortify their core right now."
Covington, 29, is owed $25 million over the next two seasons, while Gordon, 31, recently signed four-year, $75 million extension that will expire when he is 34. Both players would be fantastic upgrades to the Warriors, but it is unlikely that Houston would simply let Bob Myers just absorb their contracts onto the roster without asking for draft capital in return.
Would the Warriors be willing to trade the No. 2 overall pick for either player? Most likely not. The Warriors, while looking for veterans to help boost the roster, also are trying to get younger and cannot be giving away high picks for players on the wrong side of their careers -- unless they happen to be stars.
Should the Rockets demand less in return for their rotational pieces, the Warriors will be first in line to inquire.