ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported Wednesday that Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Kyle Lowry and Paul Millsap are among the free agents Houston will target this summer. According to Stein, the Rockets would look to trade Ryan Anderson, Patrick Beverley or Lou Williams to help free the salary-cap space necessary to sign a marquee star.
In an interview with ESPN.com's Zach Lowe, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said the team will do whatever it can to catch up to Golden State and capitalize on Harden's prime years.
"We are used to long odds," Morey said. "If Golden State makes the odds longer, we might up our risk profile and get even more aggressive. We have something up our sleeve."
While the Dwight Howard experiment failed to produce anything beyond a Western Conference Finals trip, pursuing another star free agent makes sense for the Rockets, since it's their easiest way to improve.
Houston doesn't have the pieces to trade for Paul George or Jimmy Butler—not without parting with so many assets that the deal becomes counterproductive.
While Harden seamlessly made the transition to point guard in 2016-17—averaging 29.1 points and a league-high 11.2 assists per game, Lowry or Paul would represent a major upgrade at the position defensively. And for as good as he was offensively, Harden turned the ball over 5.7 times per contest, more than Lowry and Paul combined (5.3).
Millsap, meanwhile, would give the Rockets a better version of Anderson. While Anderson is a better three-point shooter, Millsap is the superior defender and rebounder.
The same would apply to Griffin, but some may question whether his offensive style would fit with a Rockets team that attempted an NBA-record 3,306 three-pointers in 2016-17.
At the very least, Houston is likely to look different when the 2017-18 season tips off.