The Mavericks landed Rajon Rondo, but a Houston Rockets trade is still very likely to occur today.
Earlier this week Satbir Singh posted an article on Trade Player Exception (TPE) the Rockets acquired in the Jeremy Lin trade to the Lakers. The $8.37 million TPE was the highest of all the exceptions owned by any team, that is until the Rondo trade which gives Boston a $12.9 million TPE.
While my colleague felt it might be unlikely GM Daryl Morey would use it by today I’m leaning in the opposite direction. As noted, any player Morey uses all or a portion of the TPE on cannot be packaged in another trade for 60-days. If you’re asking why today is so important given the exception doesn’t expire until July 15, 2015 it’s because the trade deadline of February 19th falls exactly 60 days from today.
What that means is by picking up a player today it allows Morey to still trade them again this season at the deadline either as an individual player trade or in a packaged deal. Initially media outlets reported the Rockets were looking for wing help or another big but now it’s thought Houston would grab the best player available.
The rumored player GM Morey is said to be pursuing is Corey Brewer, however I look at a couple players who might fit the bill:
Brewer brings wing assistance and is a decent defender who would fit McHale’s system. His 10.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.3 steals would all be welcome additions to the Rockets. More importantly he offers a valuable veteran voice which Houston could use more of in the locker room.
— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) December 19, 2014
Twitter reports Minnesota has put Brewer back on the trade block after they initially pulled him off following Kevin Martin sustaining a broken wrist. With the Wolves performing so poorly they are likely looking to get Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine as many minutes as possible to accelerate their learning curve which is likely why Brewer finds himself the center of trade talk again.
Rockets still involved in talks for Wolves’ Corey Brewer with deal possible tmrw, source said. Rockets can fit him into Lin trade exception. — Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) December 18, 2014
Green brings something Houston covets which is more 3-point shooting and athleticism. Although his 3-point shot has dropped to 37.1% this season after a career high of 40% last season he is a streaky shooter and provides a rare combination of an athlete who offers rim rocking dunks and the ability to hit from beyond the arc. He also offers 14.3 points, 3-rebounds, 1.3-assists and 1-steal per game. Why Houston may not want to add Green is the propensity he has for becoming a malcontent which could be critical given how many young players are on the Houston team.
A more likely Phoenix Suns’ candidate for Morey to be pursuing is Dragic who isn’t getting the minutes he did in his most improved player season which has resulted in lower scoring. The signing of Isaiah Thomas this summer and rookie Tyler Ennis has the Suns sitting with a glut of point guards. Coach Hornacek likes to have two guards on the court at all times, however the combination of Thomas, Bledsoe and Dragic hasn’t worked out as expected and the Suns aren’t performing as well, so they’re keen to make a move that will give them an opportunity to make the playoffs after narrowing missing out last season.
With Dragic in the option year of his contract and amidst growing belief he’s not happy with his role being lessened due to the addition of Thomas he could well find his way back to the team that he left to come to Phoenix.
8 Points, 9 Seconds
Adding credence to my argument is this week we’ve seen the return of several players who had been on our injured list. Specifically Isaiah Canaan returned Wednesday in Denver and Kostas Papanikolaou returned Thursday versus New Orleans.
Why this becomes significant in terms of the TPE is now Morey will have that 60-day window to view the production of these players assuming they remain healthy along with whoever he uses the TPE on to evaluate how they fit the Rocket’s team. In addition, that 60-days would also determine any specific areas the team needs to shore up prior to the post season.
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Who becomes the player Houston may package at the trade deadline?
My thoughts are the player who would be possibly traded at the deadline is looking more and more likely to be Terrence Jones. While he still needs to return to action from his injury (leg nerve issues) it’s thought that should be sometime in January as he is progressing through his rehab and slowly regaining feeling that at one time had him not able to feel his toes.
Watching how well Motiejunas and Howard gel on the court makes me believe Jones will likely be the most logical player to be packaged in a trade deadline move since his game is very similar to Howard whereas Motiejunas provides offensive variety at the power forward position.
Howard and Demo provide an imposing front court as Denver learned this past weekend when coach Brian Shaw said they had no answer for the duo and were unable to penetrate their size at the rim. Looking at the top offensive units from last season it was Howard paired with Motiejunas that outperformed Howard and Jones and that was prior to the growth demonstrated this season by the big Lithuanian.
Tick Tock: Bottom line keep a close eye on social media and Space City Scoop today as we expect Morey to pull something prior to day’s end to get the most out of the TPE and so he can also trade the player picked up today at the deadline if desired.
Have thoughts on who Morey should target? Let us know in the comments section and let’s discuss it.