NBA Trade Rumors: Rockets NBA trade deadline primer
As an NBA fan, I love the trade deadline.
Who doesn’t? As the league moves and shakes, it’s exciting to see this happen. On the other hand, as a Houston Rockets fan, the delay has been quite disappointing for the past few years.
That’s not to say Rafael Stone handled it badly. His job is to make cautious, not thrilling decisions. Personally, I liked the Theis exchange from last year. Say what you want about Bruno Fernando, but he’s a reasonable big third string for a team in the Rockets’ position to field. That’s about all they were going to get for Daniel Theis.
Anyway. We’re not here to talk about last year’s deadline, are we? We are here to talk about the upcoming deadline.
Who could the Rockets trade?
Rockets swap candidates
There are no secrets here. The Rockets most likely to be traded are Eric Gordon and Kenyon Martin Jr.
If the Rockets don’t move Gordon this season, the Rockets could finally fill Toyota Center: with rioters. At the same time, no one should envy Stone here. Moving Gordon won’t necessarily be easy.
It’s not that he’s grossly overpaid. Specifically, Gordon is in a pay range that few winning teams can match while improving their roster. Most players who make Gordon’s money are either better or about equal. The suitors won’t make any sideways move to acquire Gordon – they value continuity.
In contrast, Martin Jr. would be easy to move. This is a young wing with elite running and jumping athleticism who is already productive at 22. to.
Otherwise, guys like Fernando, Garrison Matthews and Boban Marjanovic won’t be out of the picture if they put the money to work. Even Jae’Sean Tate shouldn’t be untouchable. The Rockets are unlikely to move one of their first-round picks from the past two years.
With all that in mind, who should the Rockets be targeting?
Rocket Swap Targets
John Collins has been the hottest name in Rockets rumors recently. I made my feelings clear: He’s worth the Rockets’ next first-round pick from the Bucks, but more draft capital and they should go through.
Speaking of passing, Lonzo Ball makes as much money as Gordon. He would be a high risk, high reward target. It’s unclear if Ball will be able to play regular NBA basketball again. Still, if he can, he’s exactly what the Rockets need.
If they are after a point guard, there may be other options. If the Rockets are happy to flip Gordon for a veteran floor general and a handful of second-round picks, Patrick Beverley would be a very realistic target.
Could they arrange something that puts them Ricky Rubio in a three-team deal? Maybe the one that sends Gordon to Phoenix and Jae Crowder to Cleveland? Of course, we can’t forget everyone’s favorite comeback, Derrick Rose and Cam Reddish.
Alternatively, there are also young leaders on the market. One of Bones Hyland or Immanuel Quickley could potentially be obtained in exchange for Martin Jr. and the Bucks pick.
Should a backup big man be in the cards? Mo Bamba is probably the most intriguing option. I love Moses Brown. As always, no one cares.
Jarred Vanderbilt is a popular name with Rockets fans. He’s a native of Houston. Vanderbilt isn’t necessarily a traditional big man, but he’s a big combo that plays with tremendous energy and feel.
Meanwhile, the Rockets’ top target isn’t a player at all. It is a capital project. That said, the dream of a first-round pick for Gordon is as dead as Woodstock. Get it out of your mind – it doesn’t happen.
Gordon should be able to score a handful of second-round picks, but if the Rockets want a first-round pick, they probably have to part ways with Martin Jr.
I’m going to throw another target over there that has no traction in the rumor mill. Obi Toppin of the New York Knicks is an interesting player. He’s a multi-positional defender who covers an absurd amount of ground in transition. He’s been buried behind Julius Randle in the Knicks rotation for a long time, and it seems possible he’s a breakout candidate on the right team.
Meanwhile, our partners at DraftKings have you covered if you want to place deadline bets.
Perhaps the most interesting bet in the Rockets sphere is Eric Gordon’s likelihood of being moved. DraftKings has him the fourth-best chance of being traded in the entire league at -200. Only Jae Crowder, OG Anunoby and Cam Reddish have higher odds, with Bojan Bogdanovic and Mason Plumlee matching Gordon.
Honestly, the best bet might be for Gordon to stay put. I’m not saying that’s what I expect. Still, as mentioned, there are complications in a deal with Gordon. Stone also had two consecutive quiet deadlines. If you’re feeling a little brave and want to make some money, bet on Gordon staying in Houston.
Don’t do it within earshot of a Rockets fan.
Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sports betting partner of SB Nation.