NBA

Rockets GM Rafael Stone Says “No Part of Him” Regrets Trading James Harden

James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets meets with Houston Rockets general manaer Rafeal Stone at Toyota Center on March 03, 2021 in Houston, Texas.
POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the recent poor run of play from the Houston Rockets, Rockets general manager Rafael Stone reaffirmed his stance that he has no regrets about trading star guard James Harden. Stone clarified his position on the matter in a press conference yesterday.

Stone stood strong when questioned about the blockbuster deal that sent Harden to the Brooklyn Nets. He also reiterated that the Rockets are in a position to avoid a “wholesale tank strategy,” referring to the Rocket’s current young core as well as the multitude of first-round picks that they received for Harden.

“A lot of what I said about being in a position maybe to not have to be bad [to rebuild], there are some other things that we’ve done, too, but it’s primarily that deal that’s allowed us to say, ‘Hey, we want to compete on a slightly quicker time frame.’ We’re not going to go down this path of intentionally trying to lose games for years on end.”

Rockets General Manager Rafael Stone

Rockets Young Core To Build Around

Houston Rockets center Christian Wood (35) warms up before a game against the Charlotte Hornets at Toyota Center.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Stone is correct that the Rockets are set up well for the future. Stone has assembled a core highlighted by center Christian Wood and guard Kevin Porter Jr. Wood showed a lot of promise before suffering an ankle injury midseason that stunted his progress. The Rockets signed Wood to a three-year deal this past offseason.

Porter Jr. also looks like he is finding his rhythm in the NBA after a turbulent first few seasons. The Cleveland Cavaliers traded Porter Jr. to the Rockets midseason after a locker room outburst. The Rockets then designated him to the G-League, where the league named him to the G-League first team after a stellar season. The Rockets will look to get him more minutes in the starting lineup following the departure of Victor Oladipo.

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