The Houston Rockets struck out on Atlanta Hawks free agents Al Horford and Kent Bazemore so they then turned their sights to New Orleans Pelicans’ free agents Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon.  They flew to Los Angeles and visited Anderson’s home in Hermosa Beach. After a nearly two-hour afternoon meeting with Anderson they locked him in with a four-year, $80 million deal.  He then called his close friend and teammate Gordon, and set up a meeting to have him join the Rockets as well.  The Rockets sales pitch had an interesting angle.

James Harden joined the meeting.  Rockets general manager Daryl Morey showed videos of Steve Nash’s time in Phoenix and explained their new roles under Mike D’Antoni’s system; D’Antoni was the coach of the Suns and is now the coach for the Rockets.  Morey explained that Harden would play the part of Nash and in turn, let Gordon and Anderson flourish under their new parts.  Morey wanted to convince Gordon, that though Harden is known for his scoring, he’s also an excellent passer.

Harden said of the sales pitch via ESPN:

“I got a little bit of Nash in me. He had his own pace to the game; that’s what I took out of that. You could never speed him up, you could never make him do anything he didn’t want to do, that’s what separated him from any other point guard at the time, which led to two MVPs.”

Gordon and the Rockets agreed to a four-year, $53 million contract that night.  The Rockets later signed Harden to a contract extension worth $118.1 million, keeping him with the team through the 2019-20 season.

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