Why Houston Rockets Need to Gut Roster to Land a Superstar

Denim MillwardContributor IIIJune 26, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 30:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic drives aganst Ian Mahinmi #28 of the Dallas Mavericks during the game at Amway Center on March 30, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Daryl Morey, you're on the right track. 

Less than a week after the last game of the 2011-2012 NBA season, the Houston Rockets dealt Chase Budinger to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 18th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.  This move is reported to be in an effort to put together an attractive trade package for Dwight Howard; a necessary move if Houston wants to challenge for a title. 

Rockets GM Daryl Morey has had reasonable success acquiring players for good value and extracting the maximum  production out of each one.  The Rockets were contenders for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference until a slew of late-season injuries caused them to fall just short. 

A balanced and deep roster of good but not great players is not necessarily doomed to mediocrity, but a championship-caliber team almost always has at least one world-class player at the helm. 

If Houston continues with their previous roster-building philosophy of getting great values and not spending a fortune on a single player, then its ceiling will always be the fourth or fifth seed in the playoffs unless they hit the jackpot on the next Kobe Bryant in the draft. 

The Rockets should spare no expense and protect no player to bring at least one bona fide NBA superstar to Houston. 

Whether it be shipping a proven rotation player for a piece of a Godfather offer to Orlando, as was the case with the Budinger trade, or if it's shipping a key cog in the Rockets system such as Luis Scola, Kevin Martin or Kyle Lowry, the move should be made posthaste. 

While gutting the roster to clear the way for a Dwight Howard and possibly Deron Williams, there may be some concern that the lack of depth could not support a championship run. However, the Miami Heat have proven that depth plays second fiddle to superstar talent on the importance scale. 

If Houston can snag an all-star or two, it will also be able to replenish roster depth by attracting useful free agents for a discounted price. Having newly acquired superstars makes any destination go from a hamburger and fries to a filet mignon in terms of desirability. 

With superstars come promises of deep playoff runs, and with promises of deep playoff runs come savvy vets who hunger for a ring so much they will take a pay cut to get on the fast track to the Larry O'Brien trophy. 

With the Miami Heat seemingly writing a new blueprint for a relatively quick ascension to the apex of the NBA pyramid, it seems the Houston Rockets are in prime position to pilfer those blueprints for their own gain. 

If you want that title you best get to pilfering, Houston.