From referee bias to illegitimate MVP votes to careless reporting, the Rockets are fed up with the entire NBA. Maybe it’s time for them to think about leaving?
What does Roxit mean?
Roxit is used as shorthand by those within the Houston Rockets organization who believe the franchise is often undervalued or overlooked by the league office, the media, and league historians who focus too often the coastal cities of Los Angeles, Boston, and (to a lesser extent) Miami, as well as cities like Chicago and San Antonio. The Houston Rockets do have two championships after all. Roxit is a combination of Houston’s forward-thinking mascot and the word exit.
Why is Houston leaving the NBA?
Houston’s front office believes the league owes it at least one if not two championships. An unreleased office memo was leaked in regards to the team’s 2018 playoff series against the Golden State Warriors. The memo reviewed the league’s review of the officiating in Game 7 of that Western Conference Finals. Houston believes unjust officiating robbed it of a net 18.6 points. In other words, the officials stole the series from the Rockets. Honor was at stake then as it is now.
Someone leaked the memo following Game 1 in this year’s playoff series rematch against Golden State. After not receiving the benefit of the official’s whistle in that game, James Harden gave Roxit its rallying cry: “I just want a fair chance, man. Call the game how it’s supposed to be called, and that’s it. And I’ll live with the results.”
Harden ranks 36th all-time in free throw attempts, which is sixth among active players (if you count Carmelo Anthony as active). He ranks ahead of Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Russell Westbrook. Harden has ranked first in free throw attempts in six of the last seven NBA seasons.
Why is Houston leaving the NBA now?
The Houston Rockets may have been able to live in the NBA knowing their team should have won most of the recent Larry O’Brien trophies, but they could no longer endure the insults given to their individual players. James Harden did not win the MVP trophy. He was runner-up, receiving only 23 of the 101 first-place votes.
Harden possesses many most valuable statistics besides leading the league in free throw attempts. His organization wants these most valuable statistics recognized. They tweeted out the most valuable statistics the night Giannis Antetokounmpo respectfully stole the award.
What was the breakdown across Houston’s roster?
Daryl Morey initiated and oversaw the voting on the Roxit initiative. Because the vote was about the Rockets future in or out of the league, he did not believe players who might not be with the team in the future should vote. Instead, votes were cast by a system Morey referred to as VORP. VORP is not to be confused with the advanced basketball stat Value Over Replacement Player. In this situation, VORP stands for Votes of/from Replacement Players. In an election decided by VORP, the votes held by all undetermined roster spots for the coming season are cast by a model player or an abstraction. Thus, Iman Shumpert, Gerald Green, Austin Rivers, and Kenneth Faried all did not vote in the election. Instead, the VORP system cast their respective votes for leaving the NBA.
Meanwhile, Morey said that the votes of any players he might trade would also become the responsibility of the VORP system, so Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker, and Nene Hilario also were all spoken for by the VORP system.
In the end, the only Houston Rocket players who actually voted were Chris Paul and James Harden.
Paul voted to remain in the NBA, claiming, “I’m not sure how we accomplish our goal of winning a title if we’re not even in the league. Also, I’m not sure if from a legal standpoint whether any of this is even possible. Harden, on the other hand, sided with Morey and cast his vote for exiting the league, stating, “What’s legal? Trophies, though, trophies are trophies.”
What is the NBA?
The National Basketball Association was a professional basketball league composed of 30 teams. Now the league is something else.
When is Houston due to leave the NBA?
The next major date on the NBA calendar is free agency. Houston will not leave the league by the start of free agency. In fact, leaving before the start of the season seems almost impossible. Who would the team play? When asked about the possibility of Roxit, Adam Silver, the league’s commissioner, responded, “The Washington Generals and Harlem Globe Trotters are always seeking new competitors.”
So is Roxit definitely happening?
Many experts believe Roxit is simply part of Houston’s pitch to lure Jimmy Butler away from Philadelphia, although most experts believed simpler plans could have been hatched.
But could Roxit be canceled?
Yes. However, stopping Roxit would require breaking up the Golden State Warriors beyond the 2019-20 NBA season, as well as any other championship contenders.
Could Roxit be delayed?
If the Rockets truly believe they can sign anyone away from anyone, then Roxit could be put off for another month to another year to another decade.
Could there be another referendum?
Can James Harden be given a fair chance in a cold, cruel world? Can the team acquire Jimmy Butler without dismantling its core? Can James Harden and Chris Paul and Jimmy Butler all coexist?
(This BBC article was a noteworthy resource. All quotes not hyperlinked are fictitious.)