Red Nation Hoops Ep. 70: All-Star Mailbag

Salman Ali (@RedNationHoops), Taylor Pate (@taylorlpate) and Kyle Chilek (@K_Chile22) discuss All-Star weekend and answer listener questions:

-All-Star banter (first 10 minutes)

-Reactions to Joe Johnson and Brandan Wright signings

-Chances Chris Bosh ever signs with the Rockets?

-Why does Salman continue to support Ryan Anderson?

-Should fans be worried about the contract Clint Capela will demand this summer?

-Thoughts on Ryan Anderson being moved to the bench?

-Confidence level in Harden's MVP chances

Listen to The Red Nation Hoops Podcast on iTunes, Google Play Music, and Stitcher.

Rockets 100, Kings 91 - Break Time!

By Forrest Walker on December 18, 2017

The Houston Rockets have successfully made it to the All-Star break. They now have over a week off before their next game, and they get to ride a ten-game win streak into that vacation. After a good-enough game against the Sacramento Kings, the team now gets to regroup, recover and a few will reconnoiter in Los Angeles for All-Star Weekend. It's good to be a Rocket, right now. Instead of an actual recap, have this animated gif of Harden and Paul enjoying life. Congrats everyone, we made it.

Rockets 126, Timberwolves 108 - Just Always Win

By Forrest Walker on February 13, 2018

The Houston Rockets have come across a fantastic strategy: always win every game. It's a fantastic plan and it's amazing nobody else came up with it first. Apparently it's the brainchild of James Harden, Chris Paul and Clint Capela, who are an unbelievable 27-1 when they all play. The Minnesota Timberwolves hoped to add another loss to that record and push themselves a little closer to the San Antonio Spurs in the standings. Unfortunately for them, the Rockets had no interest in that arrangement, and instead went with their first instinct: to win.

Rockets 104, Mavs 97 - Another One Down

By Forrest Walker on February 11, 2017

Tonight the Houston Rockets made the mistake of looking past a young, hungry and well-coached Dallas Mavericks team. The Mavs may have been missing Wesley Matthews, Dirk Nowitzki, Nerlens Noel and Seth Curry, but a team with a head coach as good as Rick Carlisle knows how to sneak up on someone if their guard is down. The Rockets took the Mavs lightly, they clanked shot after shot, and they let the Mavs into a game they should have been a massive blowout. Also, they won easily.

Report: Joe Johnson reaches buyout with Kings, will sign with Rockets

By Matthew Cardenas on February 10, 2018
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Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN has reported that forward Joe Johnson will sign with the Rockets after reaching a buyout with the Sacramento Kings. Johnson was sent to the Kings in the three team trade that saw Rodney Hood and George Hill go to the Cavaliers with Derrick Rose and Jae Crowder going to the Jazz. Johnson had been with the Jazz since 2016, playing a big part in their playoff run in 2017.
While Johnson is not the player he used to be, the productiveness is still there as a role player. The Rockets are adding another scorer who can create for themselves, hence the nickname "ISO Joe." He tends to enjoy working in the post and mid-range game, which should be no problem. We have seen Mike D'Antoni be okay with Chris Paul taking mid-range shots, which is his bread and butter. Though the system prefers the three ball and Paul is shooting them at a career rate, the mid-range shots are still coming. D'Antoni is smart enough to not take away a player's best attributes, and that will happen with Johnson. It is important to note Johnson played under D'Antoni from 2002-05 with the Phoenix Suns, where he shot 47.8 percent from three in the 04-05 season. Because he already has familiarity with the system, there should be no fit issues.

The Rockets may have become the deepest team in the NBA over the last 24 hours. Bringing in Brandan Wright and now Johnson from the buyout market makes the rotation even longer. Johnson can play at either the three or four, but expect him to be more of a four at this stage of his career. His ability to create for himself will take a little load off of Paul and James Harden. Although he is shooting 27.4 percent from three this season, do not let that be a concern. He will have a plethora of open looks from Harden and Paul penetrating, making life easier for Johnson. He is also someone the Rockets could go to in crunch time, with Johnson having experience as a top option during his days with the Hawks and Nets.

The Rockets recently re-signed Bobby Brown, but are now expected to waive him in order to make roster room. It is now looking like Tarik Black could be the next man out.

It has become clear this Rockets team is all in. Daryl Morey has made all moves necessary to make this team as strong and deep as possible. With many thinking the Rockets are the only team with a true chance to take down the Warriors, these moves could pay off in a few months.

Report: Brandan Wright to reach buyout with Grizzlies, sign with Rockets

By Matthew Cardenas on February 9, 2018
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Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports has reported that center Brandan Wright will sign with the Rockets. Wright will reach a buyout agreement with the Memphis Grizzlies after being with them since 2015. He is currently averaging 5 PPG and 3.6 RPG on 57.6 percent shooting while playing 13 minutes a night. Wright has only appeared in 27 games this season and 40 games combined the past two seasons due to various injuries.

Wright has bounced around the league since 2010, having stints with the Warriors, Nets, Mavericks, Celtics, Suns and Grizzlies. His best days were with the Mavericks, averaging 9.1 PPG and 4.2 RPG on 67.7 percent shooting in the 2013-14 season. We know the potential and production is there with Wright, but injuries have gotten in the way of a healthy season. Wright has never appeared in more than 64 games in a season.

The acquisition of Wright is the first signing for the Rockets in the buyout market. There is the possibility of another signing to be done as well. They will not have to waive anyone with there still being an open roster spot. However, it is possible the team will waive someone in order to make roster room and sign another player in the buyout market. The Rockets have also been in the mix for Tony Allen and Joe Johnson, with Brian Windhorst saying on The Jump the Rockets are the favorites to land Johnson.

Wright is a perfect fit as a lob threat alongside Chris Paul and James Harden. A player with his length and athleticism could thrive in this system. Adding another rim protector is key for the upcoming postseason run. For the immediate future, this could help Nene take more nights off and be even more fresh for the playoffs. While the Warriors and Rockets could play a lot of small ball if they meet in the playoffs, the Rockets could counter that with having Wright on the floor. Because of his athleticism, he could really pay off for the Rockets.

Rockets 130, Nuggets 104 - Plan A

By Forrest Walker on February 9, 2018

The Houston Rockets want every night to look like tonight. It's been a longstanding goal of Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey to avoid close games entirely, and instead to just blow everybody out. Houston's wire to wire domination of the Denver Nuggets was a perfect example of what that Plan A looks like. There was no drama, no confusion, no heroic moment. There was only a Rockets team operating at peak efficiency and moving on quietly and easily to the next team on the docket. The Rockets are back in elite form again, and it's a smooth ride.