Trade Deadline Marathon: Day 9
CHI receives: Brandon Knight, 2019 first round pick via HOU
HOU receives: Robin Lopez
Boy, oh boy, the timing of the Clint Capela injury couldn't be worse for the Rockets. James Harden has been ballin’ and his front court teammate has been the team’s second best performer in the absence of Chris Paul. That’s where Robin Lopez comes in.
Lopez is clearly unhappy in Chicago. He needs a change of scenery as much as Houston needs a capable center. When Capela returns in the next 4-6 weeks, Lopez would easily accept a backup role as he’s on a playoff contender. He’s currently fighting for minutes on one of the worst teams in the league so of course his production and mentality would change in a winning situation.
The Rockets can’t rely on extended minutes from an aging Nene and a G-League call up in Isaiah Hartenstein. Hartenstein has been fine but is nowhere ready to ably perform at the level a team with Houston’s aspirations needs him to.
Chicago made a deal with New Orleans last year that rings similarly to the one I have proposed. They traded Nikola Mirotic for Omer Asik and a first rounder, which turned into pick 22 (Chandler Hutchison). The move made a lot of sense for both parties.
While Knight still has an extra year on his contract, they could always try and squeeze out a second rounder out of Daryl Morey if it was that much of a dealbreaker.
The Bulls aren’t going to be good for years to come so they need to continue acquiring picks and assets to accelerate their rebuild. As for Houston, acquiring a guy of Lopez’s caliber might just be enough to help them cement their playoff position in a crowded Western Conference.