Rockets general manager Daryl Morey indicated that Houston hopes to make some moves at the trade deadline after the Rockets topped the Warriors 135-134 in overtime Thursday.
Morey talked at length about the Rockets’ goal to bring home the franchise’s first title since 1995, saying his job is to make sure he has the right players to go with the Rockets’ key players, including Chris Paul, James Harden, Clint Capela and Eric Gordon.
When asked how active Houston will be when it comes to the trade deadline, which is Feb. 7, Morey said the franchise is looking to add a piece that will give the team an upgrade.
“So what do they say — buyers vs. sellers? We’re definitely a buyer,” Morey told The Athletic. “I think we’ve been trying to win the title for a while, and we had a couple years before we got James where we probably didn’t have as much of a chance to win, where we were probably a little more future-focused.
“But since James has been here we’ve been buyers at the deadline and hopefully something comes along that we think can help our chances to win the title. We’ve had a few years where we don’t, so we don’t force it, but we’re going to be looking for something to hopefully upgrade the team.”
Harden, 29, had his fifth straight 40-point game as he led Houston to the overtime victory Thursday. He was traded to the Rockets from the Thunder in October 2012, and Morey says Houston wants to do everything it can to maximize Harden’s prime years in the league.
“It’s special. He’s doing stuff that no one in NBA history has done, or very few,” Morey said of Harden. “You work in the league your whole life to work with a player as good as James, and it’s very humbling. We don’t take it for granted any day. Myself, the front office, (owner) Tilman Fertitta, we feel a big responsibility to make sure that while he’s in his peak years — which we feel will be for many years — that we’re maximizing every minute of that.”
Morey reiterated that the franchise’s focus remains on winning the title, and acknowledged they will have to get past the back-to-back champion Warriors.
“We’re obsessed with winning the championship,” Morey said. “But obviously, [the Warriors are] in the way pretty much every year. Yeah, I mean they’re obviously an unbelievable team again, and we think we can get there and give them a real run for their money again. So we’ve been getting better throughout the season, and that was our plan, and so we’re hoping to peak in April. And we’ll see. Game on.”