POINT BLANK

Joel Blank: Is it possible for the Rockets to still salvage the off-season?

Daryl Morey still has some work to do. Rockets.com

How would you rate the Rockets off-season so far? Do you think they are done wheeling and dealing, or is there still time to make a move or two even after they sign Carmelo Anthony? What if Daryl Morey was somehow able to find a new home for Ryan Anderson? Can they still be a top defensive team having lost two of their top five defenders to free agency? Training camp is a couple months away and these are some of the more pressing questions that remain.

It's kind of hard to deem this off-season as anything other than disappointing when the conversation started with the possibility of bringing Lebron James to Houston. After the King decided on Hollywood and Chris Paul resigned in H-town, fans were still hopeful of big things and big names coming to Houston. Instead, Trevor Ariza signed in Phoenix and  Luc Mbah A Moute got tired of waiting and headed back to the Clippers. For all of those experts who said the Rockets would be just fine if they were just able to bring everyone back from last year, those hopes and dreams were thwarted by the exit of key rotational players.                                                                                            

Clint Capela’s negotiations dragged out for the majority of the month, and somewhere along the way fear and doubt crept it—assuming he wouldn’t sign a long-term deal. Thankfully, both parties reached an agreement last week and now it looks like Carmelo Anthony will be the next piece to fall.  With free agency all but over, the experts in Vegas have the Rockets slipping to third in the power rankings and odds to win the title next year. By their standings, the team has dropped a notch in quality and Boston is the biggest threat to Golden State. I guess bringing Boogie nights to the Bay Area and a healthy Uncle Drew accentuate the opinion that in Houston there is still work to do? (Notice I did not say "there was a problem")

What if Houston finds a way to get off of Ryan Anderson’s final two years and $40 million? After all, Anderson has become public enemy number one in Houston due to his lack of production and inability to live up to lofty expectations. Not since Brock Osweiler or Kelvin Cato have we seen the city turn so quickly and adamantly on a local athlete.  If Daryl Morey could somehow find a new home for "Rhino" and give the team some much needed cap flexibility in the process, I don't think the city would care if they got a bowl of soup back in return.  If they were able to get a defensive minded and playoff experienced wing player like Iman Shumpert in the process, fans might suggest Morey should get a max deal as a reward. Before we go too far, let's keep in mind he was also the guy that signed Anderson to the deal in the first place. 

If you read between the lines above, you can figure out that the Sacramento Kings might be interested in a trade for Anderson and could possibly include Shumpert in the deal. Anderson is from California and has said he would like to finish his career in Sacramento. Shumpert is a square peg in a round hole as an expensive veteran on a young and rebuilding Kings squad.  So if you are holding out hopes of salvaging the off season and believe the glass is still half full, let's hope the Kings and Rockets have each other on speed dial and somehow, some way, there is still hope they can salvage what's left of the summer and be ready to run it back at the Warriors and the rest of the league next season.

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TEXANS HAVE ZERO DEPTH AT CORNER

Here's what Davante Adams' big day against the Texans really proved

Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images

Seven weeks into the season, Bradley Roby has been the sole bright spot playing for a secondary that has been subpar at best. He entered Week 7 against the Green Bay Packers trailing only Eric Murray for the most tackles as a defensive back, while owning the Houston Texans' only interception of the season.

During his media availability on Thursday, Roby spoke about having the Texans' confidence to trust him as the primary defender shadowing the opposing team's best receiver.

And with Davante Adams coming to NRG Stadium with Aaron Rodgers on Sunday, Roby had an opportunity to illustrate why Houston's coaching staff have so much faith in him.

Three plays into the game, Roby sustained a knee injury that sidelined him the rest of the afternoon. In his absence, the Texans felt his importance competing with a depleted secondary.

Adams would go on to have a career day against the Texans. He recorded a career-best 196 receiving yards on 13-of-18 targets and two touchdowns — as the Packers handed the Texans a 35-20 loss on Sunday.

Had the Fort Worth native avoided the injury, would it have resulted in a victory for the Texans? Perhaps not. It is always hard for a team to come away victorious after going scoreless during the first half, but Roby would have limited the destruction caused by Adams. Rogers completed four deep passes where he recorded 28 or more yards, with Adams being the recipient of three.

Not only did Houston have to deal with the effects of not having their best corner shadow one of the league's premier receivers, but the team was not prepared to battle without Roby, according to Michael Thomas following the loss.

"When you lose your starting corner like that, it's going to affect [the team]," Thomas said. "Anytime you have to make adjustments. If you're not prepared, and you don't have the right mindset, then you're probably not going to get the right results you want. Maybe we could have done it a little sooner, but you definitely miss a guy like Roby. You plan on having your number one guy go against their number one guy all the time."

Roby's premature exit left the Texans with a gaping void to slowdown Rodgers and the Packers without two of their projected starting corners. Gareon Conley — who revived his career during the second half of last season — has yet to play a single snap for Houston in 2020 as he continues to recover from offseason ankle surgery.

Their lackluster performance on Sunday showcased the lack of depth and talent the Texans have in the secondary. And with the trade deadline a week away, it may be in the Texans' best interest to invest in a young defensive back they can build around in the future — especially considering the timetable on Conley's return remains unknown.

Interim head coach Romeo Crennel said on Monday that the team is hoping Roby's injury is short-term and hopes to have their top corner make his return following the bye.

At 1-6 on the year, all the Texans have left to play for is pride as they close out the remaining nine games of the season, and the best way is to prevent another receiver from recording nearly 200 yards in a single game.

For this vulnerable secondary, it is a feat easier said than done. And with the talents of Jarvis Landry, T.Y. Hilton, and A.J. Brown remaining on the schedule, it is only best for Roby to make his return to the field sooner rather than later.

"I take pride in it. It's an opportunity that not a lot of guys get throughout the league, and I'm thankful for that. Just to be able to go against the best and try my best for the team and see how I match up. I'm very thankful for that." — Roby.

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