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  • So you've heard of the Def Con system, right?

  • It's what the United States military uses to show just how dicey things are for America and any given moment.

  • DEFCON five is the most peaceful.

  • DEFCON one is basically total nuclear annihilation, and I'm not sure exactly where Hot Mess is on the sliding scale.

  • But I do know that's where you're gonna find the Houston Rockets, who are one of the more tumultuous year and a half runs anyone has seen in recent MBA memory.

  • Remember, it was last July that Houston traded in a mountain of its assets to swap Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook.

  • That started a domino of events that included trading Clint Capela going all in on micro ball, an injury to Westbrook, a flame out in the MBA bubble, the departure of innovative coach Mike D'Antoni, the departure of former executive the year Daryl Morey.

  • And finally, this past week, reports of James Harden and Russell Westbrook being so deeply dissatisfied that Harden has questioned its direction.

  • While Russ, according to the athletic, has asked for a trade, this is not the kind of chaos that typically produces championships.

  • In fact, since the rockets were quote a hamstring away from beating Golden State a few years ago, their chances of winning a title have only seemed to diminish.

  • And now the organization is that an extremely uncomfortable crossroads that got even more uncomfortable yesterday, which was ruses 32nd birthday.

  • The Team Twitter account posted this upward, although the response was amazing.

  • Our friend worldwide Joab.

  • They got the we need to talk and brought over a cake.

  • Also, this one read the room, and dude, he doesn't even like you guys and this one with Thunder GM Sam Pressey.

  • Well, yeah, you get it.

  • Meanwhile, over on Instagram, ESPN posted a clip of Stephen A.

  • Smith saying that Russ and James quote don't want to play with each other anymore.

  • To which Russ actually replied in the comments.

  • It's my birthday, but I should say this is completely fabricated.

  • You all have a good night.

  • To further prove his point, Russ also got into the comments on Harden's I G.

  • Replying.

  • Appreciate it.

  • Brody, after James also wished him a happy birthday, although when TMZ caught up with Russ later in the evening having a birthday dinner with his wife and some friends, at an L.

  • A restaurant.

  • Harden was not in attendance anyway, even if there isn't an ounce of friction between Russ and James as friends.

  • Clearly, there are more issues with them playing together than they had hoped.

  • Russell Westbrook reportedly wants to get back to an offense where he has the ball in his hands more and where everyone on the team is equally accountable.

  • It's not clear if those things can happen in Houston, but it's also not clear if the Rockets could really trade Westbrook, either.

  • Russ is indeed now 32 years old, and while earlier this year he played some of the best basketball of his career, that's still a warning.

  • Light age for any player who's game is built on his athleticism, especially one with several knee and leg injuries under his belt.

  • And that warning light flashes especially high.

  • Once you figure in his contract.

  • He is owed 132 6 million dollars over the next three season and has a $47 million player option in the 2022 23 season.

  • Is another team gonna want to trade for that?

  • Are they going to ask that Houston which already attached a bunch of assets just to get Russ now attach a fume or to get rid of him.

  • Then again, can Houston afford not to trade him if he really is so unhappy?

  • The answer to that depends on where, On the whole def con scale, you think the Rockets air trending.

  • Will new GM Rafael Stone and new coach Stephen Silas be able to cool things down enough to keep the core of the team together?

  • Or do Rockets fans need to head to their bomb shelters, preparing for the whole thing to explode?

  • So, Zach, if there is a situation where the Rockets choose to move Russ, what move makes the most sense for him?

  • Well, if he wants to play a Rust Ball and Oklahoma City style ball, it's not gonna be a for a contender.

  • So you can cross mostly contenders off the list.

  • But I think the opposite question is the more interesting one.

  • What makes sense for the Rockets?

  • Because if you really want to talk, Def Con one Def Con one is when James Harden request to trade and if you just salary Dump rushed to the Knicks like that's possibly could just salary dump into the Knicks.

  • You could trade them to Charlotte for Nick Batum, expiring contract and maybe nothing else or something else.

  • You know what?

  • Signal that sense that James Harden.

  • It's time to get out of here.

  • Houston needs to get back really stuff, or at least a semblance of real stuff, and they cannot afford to give up any more draft picks or we write.

  • We right away move to the next phase of this drama, which is that hard and looks around and says, Wait, that's all you got for Russell Westbrook So we could talk about what fits Russ.

  • What team could fit Russ?

  • What makes sense for him?

  • But the more interesting question is the flip side.

  • Can Houston find a deal that makes sense for them and appeases their franchise player?

  • Yeah, look, I like that Charlotte ideas act because he's the brand.

  • He's the signature athlete for Brand Jordan.

  • Um, I think that he's That's the exact kind of spot where you could see he would become the focal point of that team.

  • That's that's kind of the way he had in Oklahoma City, where he had his best years where he was an M V P.

  • That makes sense for the Hornets in the sense that, especially Michael Jordan, because you land a big star like this.

  • It reminds me a little of when we were talking about what the Clippers could get for Blake Griffin when they signed him to that five year deal.

  • You're probably not gonna find anybody who wants to take on that many years and that much money for a player that, frankly, you need to build your team around to justify playing that much money.

  • But the Detroit Pistons, who aren't going to get a star in free agency if they could trade for him and keep him there for five years, the length of his deal, actually is an asset.

  • So I I like the idea of Charlotte, if that's where if Russia wants to go someplace, but I actually think it's just gonna be hard for anything to happen here, and they might just have to figure out how to play together.

  • Unless, as Zach says, the doomsday scenario, James Harden wants out, too.

  • Yeah, I mean, it is complicated, and, of course, it's a short off season.

  • But during this off season.

  • Everyone is kind of in different places.

  • We saw it last night ruses in Los Angeles.

  • So those face to face meetings where you can kind of cool the temperature are a little harder to have right now.

  • Thanks for watching ESPN on YouTube for live streaming sports and premium content, subscribe Thio, ESPN plus.

So you've heard of the Def Con system, right?

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The Houston Rockets are at an extremely uncomfortable crossroads – Rachel Nichols | The Jump

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/11/17
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