"I don't think they're gonna really rebuild this team. This team is good. I don't care what a lot of people say," Gordon said on the Ashley Nevel Show.
Gordon's assessment, by the definition of the word "good," is correct. The Rockets are a mortal playoff lock for next season, barring a serious injury to James Harden. They are probably somewhere in the Nos. 4-6 seed range in the Western Conference.
But the Rockets aren't a title contender and are on a downward trajectory, stuck with a helplessly capped-out roster and without either of the two architects who helped shape the team, former head coach Mike D'Antoni and departed general manager Daryl Morey.
Gordon is a large part of the problem, as his $75.6 million contract extension quickly became one of the NBA's worst deals in 2019-20. The 2017 Sixth Man of the Year shot a career-low 36.9 percent from the field last season while remaining a defensive minus. The Rockets' net rating was 3.8 points better with him off the court than on last season, per Basketball Reference.
If Gordon has a bounce-back campaign, the Rockets could look a little better than their 2019-20 form, but it's hard to see what changes they can make to compete with the top of the conference. The Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers are all significantly better, and the Golden State Warriors should be as well, provided full health.
It's probably not an avenue the team will explore this offseason, but Houston's more likely to see a full-scale rebuild over the next 24 months than return to the conference finals.