If you can’t beat them, join them; right, Sir Charles?
In one of the worst moves in NBA history, the Houston Rockets stupidly and stubbornly gambled on a major move in 1996 after winning back-to-back titles, trading away four vital players for an old and grumpy Charles Barkley.
Those four players? Sam Cassell, Robert Horry, Chucky Brown, and Mark Bryant.
Barkley joined a Houston team boasting three of the top 50 players of all-time (along with Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler), although all three were nearly on their last legs.
And an old Sir Charles just made the Rockets slower, lazier, and fatter.
Although youngster point guard Matt Maloney showed signs of greatness that season, Houston (for the most part) was well on their way to re-growing years as the Rockets fell to Utah in six games.
Shortly thereafter, Drexler and Barkley both retired and the Dream went off to Toronto for one final season before saying goodbye to the NBA for good.
So, was Houston’s trade to pick up Sir Charles a stupid one?
You bet; and if the Rockets hadn’t made that trade, who knows how many more titles would have ended up in the best city in the Lone Star State.
Horry went on to win numerous rings while Cassell went on to lead many, many teams to some great seasons before finally picking up another ring in Boston.
Good times and great memories; it’s just a sad moment in Houston Rockets history where the guys in charge running the ball club made a major mistake in picking up Barkley.
Not only was Barkley not that good of a player by the time he joined the Rockets in 1996-97, but he also never truly fit in with the entire Houston locker room chemistry that was such a vital part of their back-to-back glory years.
So, Sir Charles, was your one year in Houston worth it? Personally I’m glad you never won a ring, even if that meant not winning one coming to the Rockets.
Barkley was never truly a team player and his terrible attitude stayed with him his entire career. Through blowing his Phoenix team’s 3-1 series lead over Houston to a miserable failing as a member of the Rockets, Sir Charles is overrated NBA talent.
It’s too bad we can’t go back in time and change things, because it would have been much better to see old Barkley retiring as a Sun while Houston continued to pick up titles with stars such as Horry and Cassell starting for their team.
However, there is no time machine to change things, and instead this move will just have to go down as one of the dumbest trades in NBA history…
Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org