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  • Welcome back to the jump.

  • I'm Rachel Nichols.

  • Still here with George Sadan O'Brien Win horse.

  • Let's talk about the Houston Rockets.

  • New general manager Rafael Stone expressed a lot of confidence in his team in a chat with the Houston Chronicle over the weekend.

  • Here's the quote.

  • We are still all in.

  • Our goal is to win a championship, will do anything we can to get us closer to that goal.

  • So, George, do you believe him and you share his confidence in the Rockets?

  • Well, I believe him because they don't have very many draft picks available to them, at least not this season and next season.

  • I believe I believe the next time they have their pick is 2022 so I think because of that he has no other choice.

  • But I do believe that they'll be in the mix.

  • I think there are top five seeds still in the Western Conference, so because of that, I think they've got a chance.

  • But he may have toe make a big trade.

  • I think, to kinda augment that particular roster to really kind of cement them in that championship caliber level.

  • I think the interesting part about this interview guys was that he was very clear about spending into the luxury tax, that he was gonna have the ability to spend the mid level exception into the luxury tax.

  • And that's an important message, not just for the Rocket fans.

  • That's an important message for James Harden, because the person he's pretty much got to sell on the short term future of this team is James Harden.

  • And because Harden has seen a lot of change and not all of it looks so positive, quite frankly, over the last couple of years.

  • And you know, the Rockets have, you know, a good roster, no doubt.

  • But their roster is thin, and they need some more support on that roster.

  • But they're so close to the luxury tax something that they have avoided when it comes to spending the mid level exception that they have used draft picks to offload salary the last two years.

  • And so, look, I'm willing to believe Tilman Fertitta, the owner, and Rafael Stone, the general manager, that they are going to spend add to this roster.

  • But I'll wait and see, and I'm probably not the only one who's gonna be watching well, haven't we heard Tilman Fertitta to say before Brian that he's more than willing happy to go into the luxury tax will do anything that it takes to win?

  • And yet we have seen moves made right before the deadline that gets them just under to a point where it's sure hard to believe that's not purposeful.

  • Where are you on that right now with this iteration?

  • Do you think that maybe the urgency of James Harden situation has caused a change of heart there?

  • Well, I think James Harden is probably on board with everything that goes on that organization for the moment.

  • But look, it's fragile, and I'm just gonna say that, you know?

  • Tillman gave a strange interview interview a year ago when he said he didn't even know how they got into the luxury tax that he happened by some sort of miracle.

  • When there are more made like three or four trades on Deadline day to get underneath it and like, Look, I'm not arguing, but you have to be a taxpaying team to be a contender.

  • The Lakers just won a championship without paying the tax, but it goes to where you are as an organization, and they just swapped out their coach and swapped out their general manager and hired people who make vastly less money back to back years after avoiding the tax.

  • So I just think, you know, I think that message is out there and we'll just see what they do.

  • And, you know, in three weeks, if they've spent their mid level on their into the tax, I'll say, Wow, they really are super invested in this roster.

  • Alright, So George, you just heard Brian say that they've got talent, but they're thin.

  • We know that they don't have a ton of size on that roster.

  • Where do you see George?

  • The Rockets stacking up with the rest of the Western Conference elite again?

  • I got them about the fifth or succeed, right?

  • It just depends like you look at the Lakers.

  • You look at the Clippers.

  • You look at the Nuggets, right?

  • You look at the Warriors.

  • I would have them all ahead of the Rockets at this point.

  • To me, it's like they're battling with the Mavs and the Blazers for that fifth spot at this particular point.

  • Unless they make a move.

  • If they make a move and they add someone significant to this roster, then maybe that changes some.

  • I mean, the Western Conference is going to be, and I love that.

  • We got to say this going into last season and we get to say it again.

  • So competitive.

  • You look up and down and there aren't teams really that are expecting toe lose the way we have seen a chunk of those in previous years.

  • Brian, Where do you put the Rockets in the West?

  • Well, they finished tied for fourth last season.

  • They three way tie for fourth.

  • Now they got the four seats.

  • That was good, but the Warriors air coming in.

  • And you know, you could argue that if if you're fighting for fifth or sixth, maybe you shouldn't spend into the luxury tax.

  • Maybe that you should try to make the best of what you have.

  • And that's why I wonder.

  • You know where James Harden is with the direction of the franchise.

  • But they have the things that are the hardest thing to get, and that's a franchise superstar player, and he's in his prime, and there's no reason not for him to keep going forward.

  • uh, we'll see how it goes.

  • Rachel, You know what I think they need to do.

  • And I think there are certain teams that know how to take advantage of this.

  • Is mining the G league right and scouting everything?

  • I mean, if you're a team that's gonna be, in theory, cash strapped, right, or at least has shown a propensity to be that in the past not going over the luxury tax, you need to mind the G League.

  • Look at Toronto.

  • Look at Miami.

  • Look at what San Antonio is done over the years.

  • Those teams are not necessarily high profile.

  • We're going to spend whatever it takes to win franchises.

  • They have in moments, right?

  • But for the most part, they're fiscally responsible.

  • But what they do is they develop talent and the Rockets need to go that route.

  • They've done it with Daniel House.

  • They need to do more of that.

  • Well, it's interesting.

  • Do you know who used to be really good at that?

  • Darrell Moore, Moore A.

  • That guy.

  • What happened to that guy?

  • Just pointing that out.

Welcome back to the jump.

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Are the Rockets really 'all-in' on the race for a championship? | The Jump

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/11/12
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