Goran Dragic and the Houston Rockets Part Ways

Rob Mahoney@RobMahoneyNBA Lead WriterJuly 5, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 09:  Goran Dragic #3 of the Houston Rockets during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on February 9, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Rockets defeated the Suns 96-89. 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 Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Goran Dragic had such an incredible second-half surge in Houston that he made Kyle Lowry look expendable. That's no easy task, and yet for a few months, Kevin McHale and the Houston Rockets appeared absolutely smitten with their one-time back-up point guard, who performed incredibly as the Rox went on an all-out postseason rally.

Dragic's standing in Houston seemed to only be solidified by the lingering rumors of Lowry's potential exit, and though his well-timed surge came on the eve of his unrestricted free agency, the Rockets seemed like the favorites to re-sign Dragic, and continue riding his surprising court vision and uncommon cadence for years to come.

But a funny thing happened on the way to that future: negotiations between Dragic and the Rockets stalled, and per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, the Phoenix Suns agreed to terms with Dragic on a four-year, $30 million deal.

Even with Lowry still in tow, that's a tough development for a team that seemed so solidly linked to Dragic's rise. The Rockets may be shrugging off the loss with their courting of restricted free agent Jeremy Lin, but there's now the very real possibility that Houston exits this offseason in the closest approximation to truly rebuilding that we've seen in some time.

Houston liquidated Samuel Dalembert, was rumored to be in talks to deal Luis Scola, seems likely to unload Kevin Martin and has been tied to many a potential deal involving the aforementioned Lowry.

The Rockets as we knew them are all but gone, and while Dragic could have been the piece that permeated the threshold between last season's water-treading squad and this season's prospectapalooza, clearly the numbers got in the way of a good thing.

That doesn't in any way make the Rockets wrong; even for all the promise that Dragic showed, that kind of commitment at the beginning of a reboot could have been a bit troublesome for Houston. But it does spell the unfortunate end of what could have been a fun relationship between a talented up-and-comer and the team that had so fully put its faith in him.