The Rockets lost their last game before the All-Star Break to the Philadelphia 76ers.
That is a tough loss because instead of being three games out of .500, they are now five games out.
Certainly not helping the playoff chase.
But the All-Star Break will allow players to rest, relax and prepare for a fairly easy schedule full of home games.
But is it too late?
Rockets fans are expecting a trade, which they seem to expect every year. Some are praying for Carmelo; others are hoping for draft picks and young talent. Whomever they acquire, it should be exciting to welcome in the new players.
Another season of injuries plagued Houston and once again has put them in a situation where they are unlikely to make the playoffs. Seems like the same old thing for Rockets fans every year—truly unfortunate for the players and their fans.
But enough of that.
Here are 10 bold predictions for the Houston Rockets after the All-Star Break.
CBS Sports says, "Some of the Grizzlies' focus remains on trying to move O.J. Mayo for a more traditional 2-guard; some execs believe the Rockets' Courtney Lee would make sense, with the wild card being how highly Houston GM Daryl Morey regards Mayo."
It's certainly just a rumor, but a trade—especially if it includes Thabeet—would make sense for both teams.
Here is a possible trade: OJ Mayo and Hasheem Thabeet for Courtney Lee and Jarred Jeffries.
Mayo and Thabeet's stock in Memphis is at an all-time low. Like CBS Sports said, they want a traditional shooting guard and Courtney Lee is just that. He can defend and shoot the three as well as being surprisingly athletic.
Jeffries is a 6'11" versatile defender who has a $7 million dollar expiring contract, which could certainly help in Memphis quest to re-sign Marc Gasol.
Houston is not rebuilding, but retooling. That's why they did the Terrence Williams trade—they know his potential and even though he is a bit of a head case, he will mature. Same thing with Mayo; the sky is the limit with his potential.
Thabeet is just what the Rockets need at the shot-blocking end. He is one of the better shot blockers in the league and would fill a gaping hole in the paint for Houston.
In my opinion, Thabeet has a lot of potential, but it takes a big man like him a little longer to get used to the NBA than say, a guard.
Denver will probably try to get rid of Nene while they get rid of Carmelo. Houston has been very aggressive and have reportedly already been calling Denver about him. They are offering "young players and draft picks," according to ESPN.
So here's an example of a trade: Nene for Shane Battier, Jordan Hill and a protected first-round pick.
Denver gets a young big man with upside in Jordan Hill and a older player in Shane Battier, who can mentor some of Denver's younger players as they start the youth movement.
Shane also has a $7 million expiring contract, which I'm sure Denver would enjoy. Denver also gets a protected first-rounder from Houston.
Houston acquires Nene, who would fit in nicely next to Luis Scola as a post threat. With Thabeet coming in off the bench blocking shots, it's a perfect fit.
Andre Iguodala has been rumored to be on the move for about a year now. Houston actually almost got him at the deadline last year for McGrady and Budinger, but Philly said no. Times are different and Houston has much more attractive assets.
Here is an example trade: Andre Iguodala and Jason Kapono for Yao Ming and Chase Budinger.
Philly gets a lot of cap relief—something they desperately need—from Yao Ming, whose $18 million expiring contract provides $8 million in savings.
They also get one of the better role players in the league in Chase Budinger, who is deceptively athletic—he's got major hops and a nice jump shot.
Houston gets Iguodala and his massive contract. But he is a stat-sheet stuffer who does just about everything: He defends, scores, assists and rebounds. Kapono is just the Rockets taking some salary from the Sixers to entice them into this trade.
Houston's lineup after the trades:
PG: Kyle Lowry, Aaron Brooks, Ishmael Smith
SG: Kevin Martin, OJ Mayo, Jason Kapono
SF: Andre Iguodala, Terrence Williams, Jason Kapono
PF: Luis Scola, Chuck Hayes, Patrick Patterson
C: Nene Hilario, Hasheem Thabeet, Brad Miller
It's ridiculous how deep they would be if these trades were to take place.
Houston really got rid of most of their difficult opponents earlier in the season. They still have to play the Spurs, Boston, Miami and Dallas one more time each.
But the majority of their games are home games and against sub .500 teams or teams that are struggling and shouldn't be much of a problem.
You have to believe they will be able to do this, especially after GM Daryl Morey conducts one of his masterful deadline deals.
Winning those 15-plus games will be enough to push the Rockets into a playoff position, especially with the Jazz and Nuggets struggling and Rudy Gay being out for once month in Memphis.
The Rockets are five games out of a playoff spot right now and will surprise everyone by having an extraordinary post All-Star Break, winning 15-plus, and perhaps upsetting a team in the first round.
The feat mentioned in the title has never been done before.
Right at this moment, Kevin is first in the NBA in free throws made, 17 ahead of the second-place man Kevin Durant.
Kevin is third in the league in three pointers made, 14 behind the leader Dorell Wright.
Kevin will be getting more minutes down the stretch to help with the playoff push and his numbers for both will go up.
I expect Kevin to lead the league in both.
I know—very bold. Especially considering Houston is the most injury-plagued team each and every year. Please don't say a word, Blazer fans...you are just entering our galaxy when it comes to injuries.
I'll name players this year who have missed games due to injury: Aaron Brooks, Yao Ming, Brad Miller, Kevin Martin, Jarred Jeffries, Jordan Hill—and I'm sure there are some that I've missed.
But Houston will go the rest of the way completely healthy, propelling themselves to the playoffs.
Up to this point, Terrence Williams has not played very many games—much less minutes—in a Rockets uniform.
But Rick Adelman will finally realize what he has. He has a great defender, passer and rebounder all in one with Terrence Williams and will put all that talent to work.
Rockets fans on twitter have lately been using the hash tag #FreeTWill, please Rick Adelman. Do so.
Aaron Brooks has wanted an extension ever since the start of the season. He hasn't gotten one.
Houston is worried about the CBA and not want to overpay for him. Which is actually a pretty smart move. Brooks has been struggling and wants his money.
If they do re-sign him, it will be in the offseason.
Rick will decide to call it quits at the end of the season, ending one of the best careers out of any coach in the history of the NBA.
A surefire Hall of Famer, Rick will be remembered for all the good times he had in Sacramento, Houston and all the other cities he coached in.
It is also a good move for the Rockets; they need a new young coach to help connect more with the younger players and just go in a different direction with the team.
Rick's contract expires at the end of this year, anyway.
Thanks for reading guys, comment down below what you think of my bold predictions.
You can follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/James_Schmidt1
Have a great weekend!