Rockets Trade Rumors: Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, PJ Tucker Shopped in Talks

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 5, 2019

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 27:  Eric Gordon #10 of the Houston Rockets dribbles the ball defended by Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics in the second half at Toyota Center on December 27, 2018 in Houston, Texas.  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 Tim Warner/Getty Images)
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The Houston Rockets front office is reportedly "operating under the belief" it will move at least one player from the group of center Clint Capela, power forward PJ Tucker and shooting guard Eric Gordon before the start of the 2019-20 NBA season.

On Tuesday, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported the Rockets are "indeed shopping everyone on the roster not named [James] Harden." He noted moving point guard Chris Paul, who has two guaranteed seasons left on a four-year, $159.7 million contract with a player option in 2021-22, would be complex.

Meanwhile, moving Tucker, who's interested in signing an extension, would "come at the strong disapproval of both coach [Mike] D'Antoni and James Harden," per Kelly Iko of The Athletic.

While the rival Golden State Warriors were expected to have a busy offseason with Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins among their potential free agents, things look more straightforward for Houston with its entire starting lineup under contract for next season.   

It's quickly shaping up to become anything but a calm summer for the Rockets, though.

Team owner Tilman Fertitta hinted the front office would be active in May when he told reporters he's confident the franchise will win NBA titles during the Harden era:

"I know that we're going to rise to the occasion and our time is going to come. James is 30 years old [in August]. … Hakeem [Olajuwon] didn't win his first championship until [31]. I can promise you, we're going to win some championships with James Harden, because we are not going to sit here. We will go to battle every year. We're going to have a strong offseason, and we're going to do whatever we need to do to be a better team. We are not going to sit on our hands, I can promise you that."

Along with the trade rumors surrounding three of the team's key complementary assets, the Rockets are dealing with the fact that D'Antoni is heading into the final year of his contract.

D'Antoni, who's guided Houston to a 173-73 record with 23 playoff wins across three campaigns, broke off talks about a new deal with the organization last week after the team had pushed for a "performance-based extension," per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com.

Yet, Stein reported Fertitta and general manager Daryl Morey have "forcefully rejected suggestions circulating in the coaching community that they are trying to nudge D'Antoni toward the exit without actually firing him."

Put all the speculation together, and the Rockets head into the summer competing with the Warriors, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks for the title of most intriguing offseason.