News » Houston Rockets Getting Inside 2009-07-12

Houston Rockets Getting Inside 2009-07-12

Houston Rockets Getting Inside 2009-07-12
There is a hope and maybe even an expectation that Trevor Ariza will become more than the efficient role player that he was in Los Angeles, working off Kobe Bryant.

That was not, however, why the Rockets signed Ariza. It will not be the measure of the success of the move.

With Yao Ming almost certain to miss all of next season and his future as an All-Star center unclear at best, and with Tracy McGrady still working his way back for the last season of his Rockets contract, the Rockets have begun remaking themselves for the post Yao-McGrady era. Ariza was viewed as a part of that plan, not the replacement star.

There is still hope that McGrady could come back next season to give the Rockets the trigger to their offense they need, or that his expiring contract and insurance protection could be turned into a different star with those qualities through a trade.

For now, though, the Rockets cannot assume anything, so they began building with the move for Ariza, in a deal that showed the thinking that will likely enter into their decision-making in the moves to come.

Though they truly do believe Ariza can do more than the Lakers needed, the Rockets rushed to give him a full mid-level contract because he so completely fits the description of the sort of players they want to collect.

"We love defensive players and still think they're underrated around the league," Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said. "Trevor is, we think, one of the best wing defenders. Trevor also knows how to contribute within whatever offense he's been in. He does whatever the coach asks him and he has the ability to do that.

"In our offense, Coach (Rick Adelman) feels like he can ask more of him, given his athleticism and his quickness. We're going to be obviously more up-tempo next year without Yao and without Tracy for sure at the start of the season, so I think we're going to be up tempo and he fits within that as well."

He was talking about why he signed Ariza, but he also described the plan going forward. The Rockets have their mid-level exception this summer and can work things to have max-player cap room next offseason. Anyone they add will likely have some of the same qualities that drew the Rockets to Ariza. And if Ariza does become the sort of star player they lack, it won't interfere with the plan.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: July 12, 2009


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