Houston GM sits down with the media at the All Star Game

  • By Kyle Kappe, Day 121, 2024

HOUSTON - We are joined by Lightning GM, Kyle Kappe, as he answers some questions and gives his thoughts on how the season has gone so far.

Reporter - You sit with an 8-49 record with a game in hand ahead of the worst team, the Stars. Is this how you envisioned the season going?

Kappe - No one hates losing more than I am. I feel awful for our players, our fans, the city for our record. But we started this rebuild with a mind to the 2026 season and beyond. We never want to lose any game. But our youth movement has been fantastic so far. We have exciting players in 2nd year post Jarrell Harrison and guard DeAndre Buie, rookies Spencer Allen, Darryl Caldbeck, and K-Worth. We are building towards a purpose. This season has been miserable as far as our record, but we are looking towards the draft to continue working on finding the right collection of building blocks to regain the heights seen just a couple years back.

Reporter - Speaking of your rookies, what did you make of the rookie-phenom game? Eyes on any particular prospects?

Kappe - I'm disappointed that our fans couldn't see the real Allen out there. I mean, you have the highest scoring rookie in the game and you let pass first PG's shoot more? I truly believe that had Allen played on the phenom team, they probably would have won that game. But even when he wasn't getting shots, he had a game high 8 assists, so that just shows you what he can bring to the table. Worthington had a nice shooting night as well. I also really felt like Caldbeck should have made the roster, his assist totals rank near the top 10 in all of the JBL and he can't even make this game? As for the phenom's, I can't comment specifically on any of the players, but I felt like every one of them will be a productive member of this league and I cant wait to see them in the league next year.

Reporter - Since you won't name names, any particular position you are looking for? Type of player?

Kappe - I don't think it would be fair to comment specifically on a position as we have professionals on our team who are working to better themselves and us. I do feel like we are missing a dynamic 3 point shooter and defensive minded players always work to make our team better. Once the lottery shapes up, we can begin to narrow our choices down further.

Reporter - The fans were once again livid that you traded away another viable piece in Antoine Hall. Care to comment?

Kappe - Sure. It's understandable that they were mad. Hall gave us overtures that he was willing to stay but understood our situations. We have the cap space that if he hits FA, we can take a look at him again. He really flourished here in Houston, he and I both understand that. But at the end of the day, we need to look to our future and him giving it his all and our team still not moving the needle, I worked to get him a chance to get another ring.

Reporter - Much has been made about you not doing more to hit the floor of the salary cap. Why the lack of urgency? Isn't that a sign that next year won't be very good either?

Kappe - I just want to stop you right there. Not reaching the floor doesn't signify anything with regards to next year. Yes, we arent going to hit the floor, barring a last minute deal. But as it stands, we are going to lose just 1.75 million dollars, which isn't much of a penalty. We don't want to commit ourselves to long term deals that aren't going to help us or see players making 8 million and sitting on the bench, rotting away. Would I like that money back? Absolutely, but with quite a few young players on cheap contracts, the rotation is rather set for the rest of the year. We aren't going to mortgage our future by throwing away a second round pick, just to save a likely unusable 1.75 million.

Reporter - Most people thought that getting Van Bree was a solid transaction, but you moved on from him. He seemed to be doing well in the system.

Kappe - He was great for us, but ultimately I felt that he wasn't going to fit in with us next year and I know he saw us as a place to finish his contract, before looking elsewhere. We also felt like we needed a veteran in our lineup and Claxton is a good guy to have on the court with our young players. He's a confident player and his presence is rubbing off on our players both on and off the court.

Reporter - Will you keep the team option?

Kappe - Once that time comes, we'll address it as we need to. He's enjoying himself here, but the draft strategy will dictate a lot for us and we don't want to resign him to the bench just to get minutes for any draftee.

Reporter - But that 15 million dollars does help you with the salary cap floor.

Kappe - Yes, it does, but that won't really be a consideration when the time comes. We can always find another guy with a one year contract.

Reporter - Much was made about Luke Williams joining the team as a mentor to Spencer Allen, but he was just dealt. What happened there?

Kappe - Williams was a consummate professional and we were sad to see him depart, but we were able to get a second rounder and his salary worked.

Reporter - Yes. The reports were that Poole had been dealt, but that ended up being false. How is Poole handling it. And how is Allen coping with the loss of his mentor?

Kappe - Luke knows it's a business and so does Allen. They still talk regularly, so I doubt too much has changed. If we can reacquire Luke at a later date, we will certainly look at something like that, but we wish him well. As for Poole, those reports were unfortunate, but an intern set out a memo that turned out to be incorrect. That intern has since been reassigned. But Poole knows that he's still a member of this team during this team.

Reporter - Anything else you would like to add?

Kappe - Just that we hope the fans continue to understand that this isn't always a fast process and that we are slowly getting there. Thanks.