The Rockets may have a new makeup when their offseason begins.
For Houston, their offseason will likely result in a head coaching search. Rockets’ general manager Daryl Morey fired head coach Kevin McHale on Nov. 19 after a 4-7 start to the regular season. J.B. Bickerstaff became the team’s interim head coach and led them to a 37-34 record through the end of the regular season, which got them the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
While Bickerstaff is deserving of consideration for the head coaching position, Alexander has options. He can clean house, fire Morey and rebuild the front office with a new GM and head coach. Although Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are no longer free agents in the coaching realm, there are several strong candidates available such as former Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy.
James Harden is one of the best scorers in the NBA and is a good player to build a franchise around. He averaged a career-high 29.0 points, 7.5 assists and 6.1 rebounds per game this season. He shot 43.9 percent from the field and 35.9 percent from three-point range. His defense has been suspect, considering he has 10.6 offensive win shares to just 2.6 defensive win shares.
Nonetheless, he’s a cornerstone player to build around.
Trevor Ariza, Corey Brewer and Patrick Beverley are three key players that have guaranteed contracts for next season. Ariza averaged 12.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game this season. Brewer struggled this season, averaging a career-low 7.2 points and 2.4 rebounds per game coming off the bench.
Kevin Durant headlines this summer’s free agent class, but there are some young guys that the Rockets may be better suited to go after. With Beverley and Ariza returning to the starting lineup next season, the Rockets need to focus on the power forward and center positions, especially if they lose Howard in free agency.
Some options in the frontcourt are Ryan Anderson, Pau Gasol, Al Horford, Hassan Whiteside and Al Jefferson, among others.
The direction the Rockets decide to go in will depend on who is in their front office and their head coaching staff. This, ultimately, will determine what the Rockets want to do in free agency with the cap space that they have. Without an unclear direction, it’s tough to predict what will happen. However, the Rockets will have plenty of options to rebuild their roster.