Though it's not what Rockets fans hoped for, Daryl Morey still delivered another productive trade deadline for the franchise.
BY: RAMZY KAWAJA
What Rockets fans wanted was a superstar.
We are so desperate for a player cut from the exceptional cloth that we were all in for a Dwight Howard rental. So much so that we started talking ourselves into believing it was the best thing for the franchise. We thought maybe we would be able to convince the best center in the NBA to carry on the Rockets’ tradition of filling basketball sneakers with only the most dominant of big men.
That just wasn’t going to happen.
Instead, General Manager Daryl Morey went the more sensible rout and shed the Rockets of some horrible contracts. Eleven million dollars of owner Les Alexander’s money this season were going to three players who only took off their warm-ups when it was considered “garbage-time.”
Hasheem Thabeet was owed $5,127,720 for sitting at the end of the bench, while Jonny Flynn was making $3,414,720. Both players had team options for next season that were not going to be exercised. Now the money will go to a rotational player in veteran Marcus Camby who will make a much needed impact, especially defensively in the paint.
Well done, Daryl. He can’t make the necessary improvements to this team without first fixing past mistakes.
Along with Thabeet and Flynn, the Rockets sent a 2012 second-round draft pick to Portland, which is going for an all-out rebuild. The other trade needed to be dissected a little more. I wasn’t a total fan of giving up a center in his early 20s and starting to show some promise, but Jordan Hill was shipped to Los Angeles to back up Andrew Bynum.
In return, the Rockets agreed to pay Derek Fisher what was left of his current deal for this season, $3.4 million, and send him on his way. With “Fish” came a 2012 first-round pick, which is top 20-protected, that the Lakers acquired from Dallas in the Lamar Odom deal earlier this season.
Fisher, who is President of the National Basketball Players Association, has a “player option” for next season, but it’s more than clear that he wasn’t interested in joining “Red Nation.” To be honest, 99 percent of Rockets fans are thrilled knowing that they probably won’t see a hated rival donning the ketchup and mustard uniforms. What Morey was really interested in was the extra draft selection.
Interestingly now, Houston needs the Mavericks to lose enough to be behind the Rockets in the standings, but win just enough to land a draft pick outside of the top 20.
There was too much to be taken care of, as far as contractual issues, for Morey to break the bank on a player like Howard. Luis Scola and Kevin Martin both have deals that the Rockets want to clear from the books before any significant upgrade can be made. The swap for Camby was just enough for Houston to make that final plunge for the postseason. We will likely see a lot less of Scola at the center position, which is another plus. A team that was considered one of the least experienced in the league is all of a sudden among most experienced.
This is an exciting time for the franchise. A strong run in the final 22 games will put the team in the playoffs for the first time in two years, and possibly three first-round picks are to be had in the upcoming draft for the Morey to make a legitimate offer for a superstar, or maybe even trade again for a higher pick in the lottery.
Once again, when it was all said and done, it was another productive trade deadline for the much scrutinized Daryl Morey.