Smack / Oct 29, 2012 / 11:44 pm

Houston GM Calls James Harden A “Foundational” Player; Jeremy Lin Has A Hater In Brooklyn

James Harden

Give NBA uber-dork Daryl Morey some credit. The Houston general manager somehow took the Rockets through the final bitter months of the Tracy McGrady era, beyond the retirement of Yao Ming, and even on past the whole Dwight Howard saga. All along, the Rockets stayed competitive. No one’s talking championships in H-Town, but they’re always a solid team, and that’s more than the have-nots in Charlotte, Sacramento and New Orleans can say. Morey hasn’t always been right, but he’s still our favorite stat nerd in the NBA, and one of the better thinkers when it comes to making the most of what he has. But the jury’s still out on his move to bring in James Harden, not because we don’t think it was smart. This was incredibly shrewd by the Rockets. They now have a base of Harden on the perimeter, Omer Asik inside, who’s one of the five best defensive big men in the league and then Jeremy Lin to run the team, sell tickets and make unearned All-Star appearances (and if he ever comes close to Linsanity again, that’s only icing on the cake). This is more about can the Beard survive in Texas (literally and figuratively)? Amazingly, despite all of that salary (and it’s A LOT), Houston is in position to add more intriguing assets. They could have max cap space in each of the next two offseasons, and finally, after years of swinging and missing, they could land that kill shot. Harden should help. He’s well-liked around the league. He played on Team USA. He’s a part of this new “cool” clique in the NBA that listens to weird rappers, wears really weird clothes and says even weirder words like “schwag” (not to be confused with “swag”). We bet players will want to play with him. Everyone knows that OKC squandered a shot at a title this season with this deal. But what about Houston? They came away looking like bandits. Finally. Houston fans haven’t been this excited since “Still Tippin’” dropped … It’s hard to look gloomy when you’re ready to sign on the dotted line of a contract that’ll probably pay you around $80 million, but Harden was devastated by the trade. He didn’t believe the Thunder would actually deal him, even after Sam Presti threatened/pleaded that they would, and gave Harden one hour to make a decision on their final contract offer … After being suspended twice during the preseason for conduct detrimental to the team, Dallas finally decided to waive Delonte West, who was reportedly negatively influencing their younger players. Who knows where West goes from here. The guys in Boston still love him, and still consider him family. But he’s lost a lot of love in most other front office war rooms. It’s never a good sign when Eddy Curry replaces you on the final roster … For opening night, what’s a bigger drop-off: Jodie Meeks starting in place of Kobe Bryant (could possibly happen)? Curry starting in place of an injured Chris Kaman (probably will happen)? Or anyone on Dallas’ roster starting in place of Dirk (going to happen)? At least they don’t have the circus revolving around Lamar Odom anymore. He’s in L.A., finally practicing again, and says he plans to play in the team’s season opener. He also believes he’ll play like the “old Lamar.” Yes, old Lamar may make quite a few appearances this year … Keep reading to hear about Amare’s bad news…

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