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Sorry Houston Rockets Fans: King James Probably isn’t Coming to Town

Being a sports fan is supposed to be fun and exciting, but for many the experience is dreary and painful; especially if you’re a Houston Rockets fan, and the immoveable object standing between you and several trips to the NBA Finals — and probably a few championship parades along on the way — is a team to the Northwest called the Golden State Warriors, and one further to the Northeast called the Cleveland Cavilers.

Houston Rockets Fans

Now, if you’re a Memphis Grizzlies or Sacramento Kings fan, this is no big deal. Your team sucks. You know they suck. Heck, they know they suck. But that’s not a bad thing, because frankly, if you’re going to circle the drain for a few years and stock-up on both salary cap money and high draft picks, then this Curry-Lebron Era is the ideal time to do it. By the time these absolutely first ballot Hall-of-Famers start to wane and think of life after basketball, your team will be on the rise.

But, as we noted off the top, if your man cave is full of Houston Rockets swag — we’re talking everything from James Harden bobbleheads, to a life-sized standee of Hakeem “the Dream” Olajuwon — then being a really good team, yet not a super-elite team, is a curse. It means that your team is just good enough to win 50+ games a year and sail into the playoffs, and just bad enough to get obliterated in the later rounds.

And so, when the rumor mill recently churned out that King James himself might pack his bags and head to Magnolia City, it’s easy to understand why some Rockets fans started booking their party bus rental circa June 2018, when their beloved squad would certainly hoist the NBA Championship. After all, King James could probably win the thing on his own. But with Harden and Paul in the back court? Seriously. Why even bother having a playoff? Just give the trophy to new owner Tilman Fertitta and go straight to the parade.

However, (yes, we all knew this was coming), rumors of Lebron’s migration to Houston aren’t just misguided: they’re probably dead in the water. And the reason, of course, is the salary cap. In a non-cap league, James could be terrorizing the Western Conference within days (Southwest has plenty of direct flights from Cleveland to Houston). But in a cap-league, the numbers just don’t add up. At best, Houston can dig deep into the locker room sofa — pass all of those pretzels and cheese balls of yore — and dig up about $8 million in loose change under the cap. And while James is not solely motivated by money, offering him $8 million is an insult (which is why the Rockets wouldn’t dream of doing it).

And so, Rockets fans, it looks as though your only real hope of having a championship parade in the next few years is if James stays where he is (or anywhere in the Eastern Conference) and somehow gets injured in the next few months. And the same goes for Stephan Curry and co. up in Oakland.

Wishing that your most fearsome opponents get hurt is hardly an inspirational rallying cry. But for Rockets fans — or fans of San Antonio, Minnesota, Toronto, Boston, and the list goes on — it may be the only hope they have. As always, only time will tell.

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