3 Potential Moves the Rockets Can Make at the Deadline
The Houston Rockets have sprinted out to a 38-13 record and currently hold sole possession of 2nd place in the Western Conference (2 GB of the Warriors). The questionable blockbuster trade that included Chris Paul has made general manager Daryl Morey look like a genius. Despite the recent ‘Lebron to Houston’ rumors that have indicated a summer move for The King, the Rockets don’t have much room to work with in terms of cap space to pull off a significant trade before Thursday’s deadline-nor do they necessarily need to. The organization lacks a truly “dead” contract that they could dump. Many speculate Houston will trade Ryan Anderson in the summer to make room for LeBron James, but dumping his salary off at this time may be more hurtful than helpful; Anderson has been playing well as of late after struggling early on in the season. Let’s take a look at some realistic moves the Rockets could make.
Add a big
The Rockets need guard depth and/or interior toughness and rebounding. Two possible options at center are Andrew Bogut and Brook Lopez on a veteran minimum deal. Bogut is a free agent and has championship experience with the Warriors and could give Space City quality minutes off the bench with a career rebounding average of 8.7 per game. Lopez on the other hand is more tricky. First, the Lakers must buy out his contract, but it wouldn’t be too surprising due to Los Angeles making it clear that the former Brooklyn Net in their plan for the future. However, if bought out, the 2008 1st round pick would be an absolute steal for Houston, regardless if his statistics are less appetizing than years prior.
Explore the buy-out market for a backup guard
Behind James Harden, Chris Paul, and Eric Gordon there have been many moving parts in regards to remaining backcourt minutes. This is a little harder to predict considering the buy-out process usually occurs in the waning hours before the trade deadline. One name to keep an eye out on is Joe Johnson. Despite his size, he handles the ball well, implicating his ability to play at the shooting guard position. It’s unclear if Utah will buy out his contract as they are actively shopping him. If released, it is hard not imagining the Rockets would quickly give him a call. Other names to look for could be defensive specialist Tony Allen or Jameer Nelson (if the Bulls decide to buy out their contracts).
Trade for a role player
This is the trickiest scenario because there are not many contracts that the Rockets could give up.
They have been looking for guard depth due to the substantial amount of injuries the squad has sustained this year.
JJ Barea has been having a wonderful season at age 33 (11.3 PPG, 5.9 APG, 3.1 RPG), but the Mavs are in rebuild mode. Sending over a package of promising young players and a future second round pick may be enough to persuade Dallas to deal their veteran point guard.
This might be more of a possibility for the Rockets. The Knicks would be adding a young, athletic wing in Troy Williams and a potential two-way player in RJ Hunter without having to commit to either long-term. Meanwhile Houston solves their guard depth problem with a veteran presence.