Ric Bucher's post on Basketball | Latest updates on Sulia
I'm no ombudsman nor have any desire to be one. Nor do I point this out with some animus toward Rockets GM Daryl
Morey; quite the contrary, I like Daryl and appreciate both his out-of-the-box thinking and willingness to explain it if and when I have a question about it. But we seem to be in an era where cooperation with the media begets favoritism that's wildly out of whack; conversely, flintiness toward the media begets out-sized criticism. Case in point: the saga of Royce White, the No. 16 pick by the Rockets in this year's draft. I'm not qualified to comment on mental health issues and the responsibilities Houston might or might not have when it comes to White and his anxiety disorder. I just know he's the highest pick not to play a minute this season and coach Kevin McHale said he doesn't know when he will. I also know that more than a few NBA executives have questioned the multitude of tweener Fs, even without White, on the Rockets' roster. And I can't help but think the mocking of TWolves GM David Kahn a few years ago because of an abundance of PGs on his roster. (Kahn, of course, is not nearly as media friendly or forthcoming with his thinking to outsiders. One media member, I'm told, sought favored-nation status and, after being rejected, has ripped him at every opportunity ever since.) That skewering includes having kept Kevin Love on less than a maximum contract, thereby providing the wherewithal to lure another major player or keep one, should Ricky Rubio prove worthy. (Morey, on the other hand, has correctly said the Rockets still need to add another major piece, not just complementary ones, but doesn't have a max deal now to land one because he gave it - to great ovation - to James Harden. I come not to knock Morey; I'm just pointing out what he's done and said.) Both Morey and Kahn have structured their rosters so they have ample cap room coming up in the next few years. Kahn has that, along with a current roster that costs less than Detroit or Dallas and has a better record despite missing its two best players for nearly half its games. The TWolves are exactly 1 1/2 games behind the Rockets and if you're asking me which squad has a better chance of being in the playoffs at season's end, I'd go with Minnesota. Now imagine if the two situations were flipped this year -- would Kahn be given a free pass for White's absence? For questions of duplication and conflicting skills between Harden and Lin? I'd say doubtful, but that would be soft-peddling it. The truth: not a chance.