Joel Blank: Why Lebron? Why not J.J. or Avery and re-sign your own?

All this Lebron James talk. Why not other options? Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

All the talk over the last two weeks about Lebron coming to Houston to me is crazy. Why why would you blow up a 65 win team? Who cares if the guy likes Houston as a city or not? Why cater to a guy who would force you to trade or get rid of almost half your team, if not more? Why not add a less sexy name or two that could add depth and versatility to an already deep and talented roster? In my opinion the Rockets have a good enough team to win a title next season if they can just bring everyone back and re-sign their core free agents. If you can find a home for Ryan Anderson you get an added bonus and have more freedom to spend on free agents and make trades for higher contracts. With that in mind, here are a few names the Rockets should consider as potential additions to their roster for next year.

By now everyone knows the Rockets are an offense predicated on shooting threes and getting layups, as they play fast and try and get a high volume of shots up on a nightly basis. Players that fit the mold are good shooters, in great shape, can run the floor and make free throws. JJ Reddick is a player that fits all that criteria and adds the experience of being a 12-year NBA veteran and someone who has played with Chris Paul and flourished. Reddick shot 42% from behind the arc last year and averaged 17 points a game, as he knocked down 46% of his field goal attempts and 90% of his free throws. For a team that wants to shoot as many triples as they can, why not add one of the best long range snipers in the league over the last twelve seasons and someone that has shot 42% for his career from behind the arc and 45% from the floor? He is getting older now and is still chasing an opportunity for a title. After getting paid 23 million dollars to play last season in Philadelphia, he got his big pay day so why not go for the ring in Houston? Sure the Sixers have a good, young squad, but are they as ready to win right now as the Rockets? I personally don't think they are. If Reddick is willing to work with Daryl Morey on the numbers and be somewhat flexible, he would be a perfect fit for H-town.

Another guy that could be a huge help next season for Mike D'Antoni's team is Avery Bradley. After finishing last season with the Clippers, you know he wants to get back to winning on a consistent basis like he did in Boston. He only played 46 games last year between the Pistons and Clippers after undergoing season ending abdominal surgery in March. That injury could lower his price tag and open up the possibility of him fitting right into the Rockets wish list and price guidelines.

Bradley is a career 37% three point shooter, who has shot 44% from the floor over his eight-year NBA resume. He has averaged over 12 points a game and shot 77% from the line, while averaging  just over 3 boards, 2 assists and 1 steals per contest. Throw in his above average abilities on the defensive end, where he is one of the league's best on-ball defenders as well as his experience handling the ball as a playmaker and you have another perfect fit for red nation.

If the Rockets could add one, if not both of these guys and retain CP3, Clint Capela and Trevor Ariza, they would be well on their way to a return engagement with the Warriors in the Western Conference finals. Either guy would strengthen the bench, improve their shooting and in case of Bradley, upgrade their ball handling and defense. For a team that was easily the second best squad in the association this season, a move or two like this could be enough to be NBA royalty at the end of next season with no need for the king.


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Nick Caserio's history of drafting injury prone players has become a problem. Composite Getty Image.

Nick Caserio was hired to serve as the general manager (GM) of the Texans on January 7, 2021. Some saw it as another nod to the organization's obsession with the Patriots. Others saw it as the team finally getting their guy after pursuing him previously. They were even hit with a tampering charge while trying to talk to him about the job. Since he's been on the job, there have been highs and lows.

Recently, the news about Kenyon Green and Derek Stingley Jr put a stain on his tenure. Green was placed on season-ending injured reserve (IR) and Stingley Jr is expected to be placed on IR, likely missing six to eight weeks, per Aaron Wilson. Both guys were Caserio's 2022 first rounders. Both guys are starting to look like busts and have fans a little more than just upset.

Green's case was curious because he was said to have needed surgery before he tore his labrum during the Saints preseason game. He had knee surgery this past offseason. There were knee injury concerns when he was coming out of A&M. Adding to his injuries, Green has played poorly. To make matters worse, the Chargers drafted fellow guard Zion Johnson two picks later. Johnson played all 17 games last season as a rookie at right guard and has moved to left guard this season. The pick used to draft Green was part of a trade back with the Eagles. They used the 13th overall pick to take Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis, a guy at a position this team could desperately use.

Stingley Jr was a highly touted recruit coming into LSU as a freshman. He played as well as any corner in the country that year. Oh, and they won a national title with arguably one of the best teams in college football history. His net two years in Baton Rouge were marred with injuries. Some believed his junior year was more him holding back to stay healthy for the draft. It worked because he was taken third overall, one spot ahead of Sauce Gardner. Gardner went on to be an All Pro as a rookie. While he's surrounded by more talent on the Jets' defense, people will forever link them because Stingley Jr hasn't lived up to expectations. He missed six games last season and is set to miss at least that many this season. When he has played, he's looked okay. “Okay” isn't what you want from a guy drafted third overall ahead of the other guy who was widely considered better than him.

For the 2021 draft, Caserio was handcuffed. He had no first or second rounders, and made a few trades that lessened his draft pool from eight to five picks. Of the five guys drafted that year, only Nico Collins seems to be a player. The 2022 draft was more productive. Although Green and Stingley Jr were the headliners and haven't played up to the hype, the others are carrying the load. Jalen Pitre and Dameon PIerce alone make that draft class dope. This past draft was seen as the one to save the franchise so to speak. Getting C.J. Stroud and Will Anderson Jr got the team a franchise quarterback and edge rusher with picks two and three overall. The price paid to move back up to three was hefty and puts more scrutiny on Anderson Jr. They appear, so far, to have also found a couple other nice players. Tank Dell being the hidden gem of this class.

While people can't, and shouldn't, base Caserio's performance strictly off of the guys he's drafted, one must call it into question. The '21 draft was a wash. The '22 draft looks suspect, but has some redeeming qualities. The '23 draft will most likely be his saving grace. But should it? Former Texans GM Rick Smith nailed almost every first rounder he drafted. Even he was almost run out of town because folks didn't like what he did. Why should Caserio be any different? So what if he cleaned up the mess by the previous regime! That's what he was hired to do!

“Keep that same energy!” That phrase is used when people try to hold others to different standards. Where's that energy everyone had for Bill O'Brien, Jack Easterby, Rick Smith, Gary Kubiak, David Culley, and Lovie Smith? When others weren't performing well, their heads were called for. I see some people holding Caserio accountable. For the most part, it appears as if he's getting a bit of a pass. I'll be interested to see if this continues should the team has another subpar season. If that pick they traded to the Cardinals is another top 10 pick and the Browns pick the Texans own isn't...if Green can't come back and/or Stingley Jr doesn't show any signs of being a lockdown corner...then what? Let's hope none of this comes to fruition. If it does, we'll have to revisit this conversation.

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