I agree that not getting Simmons was a mistake, not because Simmons is great, but because he raises their floor. Houston's problem is that their future is heavily dependent on getting this year's pick. If they don't.....oh boy. They're going to have to tank for three seasons in a row, one of which was for nothing, then after those two years, they aren't guaranteed to have the benefit of supplementary picks (because of the OKC trade) to help with the newer picks. And if picks from 22/23 don't pan out huge, and they ALSO don't end up controlling their own picks 24-26, welp, they could be in the cellar for an entire DECADE. And in addition, Fertita is headed to Dolans-ville in being an owner that players don't want to play for, especially in this current political climate.
Of course, the Rockets might get the number one pick this year and then proceed to get two high picks the next couple years. Everything could be righted in the draft. But just look at Sacramento. Getting high picks doesn't guarantee success. It also takes great management decisions. And maybe Stone is better than he looks. Maybe this is all due to Tillman. But right now we don't know for sure. Maybe he just genuinely took the Nets deal because he preferred it. The handling of Oladipo was a damn problem.
The Fertita family is basically the mafia. That was easy to see with his brother's ownership of the UFC and their casinos, and this Houston debacle falls right in line with that. They are all about asset control, and they view their employees as assets. It worked in the UFC because they have 100% control over 99% of the fighters. What they say goes. But in the NBA, the players have way too much agency for that approach to work. And I doubt it's in Tillman's DNA to adjust. Add to that the financial problems you mentioned, and Houston is in a super dicey position. The NBA is largely determined by luck, but Houston's situation is now almost totally reliant on luck before effective management even comes into play.
Thunder fans were arguing about Presti the last few years. Holy smokes, thank your lucky stars. Even if OKC doesn't end up champs, being a fan of a crappily run organization is a hellish experience. It's like watching someone drive your beloved car off a cliff over and over. Unless you're a masochist, just quit following them. At the very least, this rebuild is going to be a fun, interesting experience. As a sports fan, you want championships, but having fun watching the process is great too.
Also, as an OKC fan, it's great that those Nets picks only have the chance to start being assets that improve their W/Ls right as we end control of Houston's picks. It takes rookies awhile to actually end up contributing. I'm not worried at all about the early Mil/Nets picks mattering.
Oh absolutely. Tillman is actually the cousin of the Fertitta bros(Father's are siblings) who ran the UFC before selling it to Endeavour which is a talent agency that merged with William Morris agency. Ari Emanuel is the CEO who's the brother of former mayor of Chicago and Obama admin. chief of staff Rahm Emanuel
The crazy thing with this guy is that he hasn't learned that the players run the league. I'll never forget Howard Schultz, CEO emeritus of Starbucks who bought the Supersonics with 56 other investors(I kid you not!) and thought that he could run an NBA team the way he did with Starbucks. Gary Payton put him in his place and reminded him that he wasn't one of his Starbucks employees who had to put up with his BS and that he needed him more than he ever needed Schultz. Howie's ego couldn't handle it, criticized Payton in the media and complained about how much money he was making then traded him after 13 years in Seattle. He was public enemy #1 and ended up being the main reason that people despised him and it allowed the team to relocate.
Scary thought is Tillman could pull that same stunt and become a bigger pariah than he already is in Houston. He's a fusion form of the meddlesome nature of James Dolan and the cheapskate mindset of Robert Sarver blended into one. This time the league wouldn't allow it and would more than likely force a sale to a local owner.
If the Rockets owner had simply taken the 76ers offer and allowed the GM to make the following that could've been they'd better off. Instead of relying on Brooklyn's picks to amount into something which was the put all your eggs in one basket approach, he could've had the risk diversification mindset in the following ways:
1) Sending Zach Collins, C.J. McCollum and Ben McLemore to Miami, Ben Simmons, Kelly Olynyk and Danuel House Jr. Portland, P.J. Tucker and James Harden to Philly in exchange for Tyler Herro, Matisse Thybulle, Precious Achiuwa, Tyrese Maxey(maybe), expiring contracts and multiple 1sts. He'd have 3-4 players under team control for 3-4 years before having to negotiate a new contract.
2) Instead of relying on BRK's picks(MIL's picks are useless as they've resigned their big 3), they could've relied on PHI, MIA and POR's 1sts. Anything could've happened and they could've used one or multiple of those picks to move up in the draft for a desired player if need be.
3) If the Simmons to Portland deal didn't materialize, could've just sent him to Minnesota and take advantage of a desperate GM in Rosas knowing he'd make a deal centred around Anthony Edwards and multiple 1sts as a starting point.
I know people gave Presti a lot of flack and I'll say he made one blunder which was stretching Kyle Singler when he was better off letting his deal expire. Oddly enough, if his cap hit of 999,200 was removed, the Thunder would've been under the tax by 200k. Instead they were over it by 700k. This year would've allowed OKC to reset all repeater penalties on the luxury tax. Instead they'll likely spend one more year being under the tax significantly before re-upping SGA.
This would've sounded dumb, but if Presti really wanted to, I think he could've convinced the Rockets owner to remove the picks on the swaps owed to OKC if the Thunder were willing to eat John Wall's salary. It wouldn't have been worth it as Wall could've created a toxic locker room which would've been a nightmare, but knowing the owner's financial straits I wouldn't have been surprised. They could've done something like this prior to the season:
Charlotte: Al Horford
OKC: John Wall, 2 2nds from BOS, protection on picks+swaps from HOU removed, OKC could've kept Zeller for the year and move him at the deadline if need be and instead send out the dudes they chose to cut prior to the year like T.J. Leaf and send out Quincy Miller, Justin Jackson, Admiral Schofield and whoever else.
HOU: Cody Zeller(Gallo's TPE), Nicolas Batum(Adams TPE) deal to be made after OKC+CHA.
I know Charlotte isn't a FA destination, but Horford would be a good vet mentor to their team and their young bigs in particular Vernon Carey Jr. His presence with Hayward and Rozier would help a young team developing said identity.
Houston gets financial relief while OKC eats a bad deal which will expire during the first year of SGA's new deal. If Wall were to stay healthy and get overconfident(unlikely), maybe he'd opt out. Stone wouldn't do a deal like that, but Tillman overrode Morey in the Westbrook deal so anything's possible with that loose cannon.
Either way it's good to ponder what could've been but in the end Presti is in a good spot and it could always be worse.