The trade package the Houston Rockets received for James Harden has come under scrutiny since the trade deadline in which they received very little in return for Victor Oladipo. Rafael Stone, however, continues to believe in the trade package he selected.
The Rockets received three first-round picks from the Nets, a first-round pick from the Bucks, and the option to switch draft position in four drafts in exchange for Harden. Houston also essentially chose to take on Oladipo instead of Caris LeVert.
“Given the types (of draft picks) we got back like, it feels like you can’t possibly know how you did for multiple years, like five, something like that,” Stone said. “But I feel good about it. I would for sure 100 percent do that deal again. There’s literally no part of me regrets doing that deal. I am not second-guessing it for a moment.
“Being in a position to not have to be bad, there’s some other things we’ve done to help that, too, but it’s primarily that deal that’s allowed us to say, ‘Hey, we want to compete on a slightly quicker time frame.’ We’re not going to go down this path of trying to intentionally lose games for years on end.”
Stone also pushed back on the narrative that any of the deals was directed by Tilman Fertitta.
“No offense to my boss, he doesn’t really have (a role) in a deal like this,” Stone said. “I do my very best to be a constant contact with Tilman, telling him about the direction we’re trying to go in … and I want him to feel very, very comfortable about our processes. Tilman is a deal guy. He’s super valuable to me as a resource.
“In terms of actual players? No. He leaves that up to us.”
Stone also talked about Houston's pursuit of a title over the past several years has contributed to their current state.
“I’m completely unapologetic about that,” Stone said, “Organizationally, for the last five or six years, maybe the longer, we’ve been all in every year, and given the players we’ve had, the place that our roster has been, the team construct we had, I think we did the right thing.
“That’s how we find ourselves in the position where we are today. There’s consequences to that. We’re kind of living those consequences.”