Are the Rockets on the verge of falling apart?

Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images
Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images /

The Houston Rockets are set to fall down the Western Conference standings with the latest Russell Westbrook reports

The NBA offseason is set to kick into hyper-gear in the coming days, with the NBA Draft and free agency just around the corner. Upon their elimination from the playoffs, the Houston Rockets have seen pivotal pieces leave the organization in head coach Mike D’Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey. As if things couldn’t get any worse, a bombshell was dropped on Wednesday evening.

Star point guard Russell Westbrook, whom the Rockets traded for last year, already wants out of Houston. With the Western Conference only getting tougher on a yearly basis, the Rockets appear on the verge of free-falling in the standings.

Harden, party of one?

Last offseason, the Rockets made the leap to acquire Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for a plethora of first-round picks. While Houston did make the playoffs, it took them seven games to beat the Thunder in the first-round before running into the Los Angeles Lakers buzzsaw in the Conference Semifinals.

Now, D’Antoni is replaced at the head coach position by former Dallas Mavericks assistant Stephen Silas, while the team promoted Rafael Stone to general manager. While ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon reported that Harden and Westbrook were on board with the hiring of Silas, the duo expressed concerns about their championship window, and for good reason.

With the Lakers expected to make moves this offseason to create the league’s next dynasty and the Golden State Warriors getting their stars back to full health, this is a Rockets team that needs to add to even have a chance of making it to the Western Conference Finals. The sad thing for the Rockets is that this year’s free agency class is weak, as opposed to the loaded 2019 group that included Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson. There’s no superstar waiting on the open market for Houston to pair with Harden in 2020. As for the trade market, do the Rockets even have the assets to make a big splash for a star?

The path to the NBA Finals just got a lot tougher in the West. And the fact that one of the Rockets’ superstars wants to move on doesn’t bode well for their prospects next season. Unless they do something drastic, the Rockets are poised to fall out of playoff contention and into the NBA Draft lottery.

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