The Durant love affair seemed to reach its peak after the just-completed season, when Rockets officials almost couldn't wait to tell the small forward about how good the franchise is, how Durant would look in Rockets colors.
Durant's good friend James Harden was seen chopping it up with him in social media photos. Funny thing about good friends: sometimes they disappoint.
Kevin Durant elected not to even meet with the Rockets. Instead, the free agent went to the Hamptons to be wined and dined by Tom Brady, all the while his heart most likely remaining in Oklahoma City.
Houston moved on. And this weekend, general manager Daryl Morey completed his goals of upgrading the roster by agreeing to terms with a new starting power forward, Ryan Anderson, and a shooting guard in Eric Gordon who could come off the bench or start, depending on your perspective.
On Saturday afternoon, Rockets owner Leslie Alexander spent $133 million in total contracts on two players with health issues, but, if healthy, they should provide new coach Mike D'Antoni with more weapons to use in his up-tempo offense.
Harden has talked about needing more playmakers to help in the offense, and Morey attracted two who can light it up.
Anderson, a career 13.1 points-per-game scorer, averaged 17 a game for New Orleans while participating in 66 contests last season. Anderson's true shooting percentage is 54.6 percent, and he made 36.6 percent of his 3-pointers in 2015-16. The 3-point shot is vital in D'Antoni's offense, which uses stretch 4s as trailers to hit outside buckets. And here is maybe the best thing about Anderson: He's pretty good at free throws. With his career free throw percentage at 86.1, Anderson is far better than Josh Smith, Donatas Motiejunas and Terrence Jones at the position.
Anderson hasn't played in more than 66 games since the 2012-13 season, when the Pelicans were the Hornets. Since that season, he didn't play in multiple games due to a severe neck injury, MCL sprain and a sports hernia.
The Rockets attempted to trade for Anderson in the past but could never finalize a deal. Now, in free agency, with Durant out of the picture and Al Horford -- another star player who visited the Rockets -- going to Boston, the next-best thing was Anderson.
Solid job by the Rockets, who got someone they have long wanted and didn't have to settle.
Gordon, when healthy, is a strong offensive player.
Last season, he averaged 15.2 points per game and picked up the third-highest effective field goal percentage (52.1) of his career. You would like to see Gordon's field goal percentage at a higher level (41.8 percent last year), but one would suspect he'll get more open looks with Patrick Beverley and Harden feeding him the ball.
The biggest problem with the deal is Gordon's health. He hasn't played a full 82-game season in his eight-year career. He has had surgery to both knees, shoulder issues and just last season fractured the same ring finger twice while playing with New Orleans.
Yet, he's getting $53 million to upgrade the offense at shooting guard.
Anderson is getting $80 million to become that strong power forward the Rockets are looking for. Neither player is the best defender, but when you score and people are happy, you should play better defense. Right?
Of course, the Rockets aren't finished, but in the first 48 hours, Houston did very well for itself in getting back to what Harden called "championship ways."