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No team in the NBA has had a worse offseason than the Houston Rockets. To say that the team came up short in their quest to add a third superstar would be an understatement.
It all started with the team's decision to decline rising star Chandler Parsons' player option, which made him a restricted free agent. With Parsons set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, the Rockets made the move as a way to both lock him up a year early and still chase a marquee free agent.
The first target was dynamic scorer Carmelo Anthony. The team met with Melo for four-and-a-half hours, leaving the meetings with a good feeling about their chances of signing him (per Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen). When it appeared unlikely that Anthony would join, the team shifted its focus to Texas native Chris Bosh.
As with Anthony, Houston must have felt good enough about their chances of adding Bosh that they put other cap-clearing moves in place. After trading center Omer Asik to the New Orleans Pelicans, the Rockets sent point guard Jeremy Lin packing to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Meanwhile, to help throw a wrench in Houston's plans to land Bosh, the Dallas Mavericks offered Parsons a three-year, $46 million contract. The Rockets held off on making a decision on Parsons until they got one from Bosh.
In the end, Bosh returned to the Miami Heat…and the team still let Parsons walk to Dallas.
For those scoring at home, that means Houston lost one of the league's best young stars in Parsons, a quality reserve center in Asik and a good bench scorer in Lin while getting next to nothing in return. Making matters worse, two of the aforementioned three went to division rivals.
Fortunately, Houston's offseason wasn't a total loss. They brought back three-and-D specialist Trevor Ariza to fill Parsons' spot. That was the lone highlight of the Rockets' summer.
The team added a couple other former Rockets in big man Joey Dorsey and guard Ish Smith. At 6'8" and 268 pounds, Dorsey has the girth but not the height to be an ideal backup center. Smith, while serviceable with the Phoenix Suns, doesn't offer much of an immediate impact either.
The pressure to stay among the West's elite now falls on the shoulders of Ariza, James Harden and Dwight Howard. They'll need second-year man Isaiah Canaan to fill Lin's shoes as well as continued progress from some of their other young guys (Donatas Motiejunas, Terrence Jones and Robert Covington, to name a few).
A return as a top-four seed in the West is easier said than done, though. Houston took a serious hit to their depth, and the talent they added doesn't come close to matching what they lost. The hope is that general manager Daryl Morey has another trick up his sleeve.
If not, this summer may just be the start of a long season ahead.