When the NBA season ended with the Toronto Raptors beating the Golden State Warriors, many saw it as an opportunity. The Warriors were hobbled by injuries to stars Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, both of which were set to become unrestricted free agents. With Durant out for the following season and Thompson set to miss a good chink, it was like the scene from Rocky IV when Drago was cut. The machine was made human and looked vulnerable.
Enter Rockets GM Daryl Morey. He saw this as the opening he was looking for to finally take down the bully of the league. With rumors swirling of a Chris Paul/James Harden beef, Morey sought to improve the roster by any means necessary. More rumors circulated about who was/wasn't on the trade block when it was noted that the team was going after Jimmy Butler via sign and trade. Turns out, this was another swing and miss for Morey and the Rockets as Butler was dealt to the Miami Heat.
This was yet another big time talent that Morey failed to bring to Houston. Although his tenure has been an overall success, it has failed to yield an NBA title. That is the true and ultimate goal of anyone involved in pro sports who actually gives a damn. After watching Morey shoot his shot and consistently fall short, it got me to thinking: what does this remind me of?
The marriage proposal rejection guy
This has to be one of the worst feelings of rejection. Here you are poised to pop the question to the woman you want to spend the rest of your life with. You've bought the ring, planned everything about the evening out, and get down on one knee. You're the center of attention wherever you are. But when she says no, your world is crushed! You have to go back to the drawing board because there's no way you can continue a relationship with someone who feels that much differently from you. Some people never recover from this. Morey has been fortunate to recover, but he's damaged goods.
Woman left at the altar
It's finally here! it's your day! You have the ring, the dress, the venue, your bridesmaids, the cake, everything is all catered to you. That is until he fails to show up. You thought your fairy tale life was set to begin. However, he realized that hitching himself to you for eternity would be a mistake because he's not ready to settle down and have kids with someone who has as many commitment issues as you do. Morey sees players as assets instead of individuals. Until he can start to see the more human aspect of trades, he'll continue to get left at the altar.
For years you were the place to be when it came to spring/summer/fall fun in Houston. You could stay open for months on end because of the weather. Generations grew up knowing you were the go-to move when trying to pick up on or impress the opposite sex. But after years of the same ole same old, you failed to make the necessary changes and grew old and tired. Eventually, you had to close your doors and were forced to become a staging area for Rodeo temporary buildings until someone decides how and when you'll be developed. Morey is in danger of becoming old and stale if he can't give this team the proper facelift and wins a title.
Off brand products
Here you are on the shelf or stockroom of a random store or warehouse. You look very similar to the real Nike shoes, General Mills cereal, an Avenger action figure, or a Louis Vuitton purse. In reality, you're just a knock-off Air Max shoe, a box of Frosty Corn Flakes, a Revenger, or a pure imposter LV purse. You look really good in most cases. Sometimes, you can even pass for the real thing when unpackaged and compared to the real deal. But ultimately, you're notwhat most people look for when they want top of the line products. Morey has been the Great Value brand instead of the General Mills brand far too often. He's been the knock-off that people settle for because they've spent their money elsewhere, but they want to "look" like they can afford things they really can't. In other words: he hasn't had the money to sign or trade for top flight talent because he doesn't have the cap space or assets to make moves like that happen very often.
I'm so frustrated by the debacle that this team is in as far as roster flexibility is concerned. It'll take several years before the Rockets are in the position or draft or sign high end talent. Les Alexander told Morey he's not down for tanking and wanted to keep the team competitive while needing to rebuild. Tilman Fertitta bought the team when it was good enough to make the playoffs and already committed to Harden as a super max player. Morey has been known to wiggle his way in and out of sticky situations. He can recover from proposal rejection or being left at the altar. But can he avoid becoming an outdated relic or a knock-off version of the real deal? That is what Rockets fans want to see. For those who have stuck with this team so long and so deeply, I hope that Morey can turn this thing around enough to the point where he can be recognized as a viable brand and not a knock-off. this fanbase deserves as much. Will they get it from Morey is the ultimate question.
It's been a wild few weeks for the Astros and their fans as owner Jim Crane has whipped out the check book, signing Jose Altuve to a 5-year $125 million extension, and closer Josh Hader to a 5-year $95 million deal.
Despite Crane committing $220 million of guaranteed money, all anyone in Houston can say is, “What about Bregman?”
Astros GM Dana Brown said recently the team plans on making Bregman an offer, but there's not a timetable set right now. So as we patiently wait to see what the future holds for Bregman, we're starting to hear some rumblings from the media about the situation.
USA Today's Bob Nightengale shared his two cents on the matter in his Notebook on Sunday.
The Houston Astros plan to make All-Star third baseman Alex Bregman a contract offer before he hits free agency, but it’s not expected to come close to the $300 million over 10 years it likely will take to keep him.
No Astros player has ever received a contract longer than six years or more than $150 million.
Nightengale basically echoed Brown's statement from last week, which isn't really new information. But saying the contract offer isn't likely to come close to what Bregman is looking for is interesting. While it's good news the Astros are planning on making a run at Breggy, it's definitely bad news for Alex if they only intend to pay him half of what he's looking for.
While not surprising, this does line up with what many have come to expect from the Astros. They don't hand out deals over six or seven years, and they certainly don't offer contracts in the $300 million range. While Bregman could command that on the open market, the idea of paying Bregman more than twice as much as Altuve or Yordan Alvarez seems doubtful at best.
Our best guess is Houston will offer Bregman a deal similar to the one they offered Carlos Correa (5-years, $160 million). And we know how that turned out. Correa moved on and so did the Astros with Jeremy Pena.
32 million dollars a year for 5 years is nothing to sneeze at. But you can't blame Bregman for wanting to cash in this offseason. He turns 30 in March, so this is his best chance to land a 10-year mega-deal if that's his top priority.
Another note from Nightengale caught our attention
The Astros have already sold a franchise-record 22,000 season tickets. If the organization is considering handing Breggy a massive deal, it doesn't hurt to be selling a historic amount of season tickets. The money has to come from somewhere.
At the end of the day, the contract uncertainty doesn't seem to be impacting him negatively. He's still behaving like one of the team leaders. He and his wife Reagan recently helped welcome Josh Hader and his wife to the organization.
Maybe there's still a chance he returns.