December 15th marks the date where the bulk of players who signed contracts this summer are eligible for trade. Effectively, one could say we’ve just reached the opening of the trading season.
As of now 378 players are free to be negotiated by GMs all over the league. This number is based on eligible players who can be traded and either don’t have a trade restriction in their contract, weren’t traded after September 15th or signed a deal 20% above their previous contract. The always aggressive Daryl Morey GM of the Houston Rockets with must surely be among the teams who are seriously looking to make changes to their squad.
Currently the Rockets sit seventh in the Western Conference with a negative record of 12 wins and 13 losses (mostly thanks to the Denver Nuggets’ sweep completed last night) and while the team showed significant improvements in the hands of J.B. Bickerstaff, it’s still not enough.
Leslie Alexander made himself clear after axing Kevin McHale that more changes would be forthwith if players didn’t play hard enough.
While it may not be overtly obvious certain players are lacking effort on or off the court, the same can’t be said about their box scores where their lack of performance is blatant.
Taking a scan of the National media and around social media the three players fans and pundits seem to be in agreement that should be on the chopping block due to their performances are Ty Lawson, Terrence Jones and Dwight Howard.
The Case for Dwight Howard
It doesn’t look likely that the Rockets organization are interested in dealing Dwight Howard, however, because Howard is the Rockets biggest asset – and he has a player option coming next year – however his name keeps getting involved in fan-created rumors everywhere.
Trading Howard would create as many problems as solutions. It could mess up chemistry, defensively the Rockets would be (even more) exposed, but mostly there’s no guarantee Daryl Morey would receive value for Howard as he is currently not the same player he once was.
And while Chris Sheridan is now reporting Dwight is unhappy being the second option behind James Harden on the team, I don’t think there’s much to it. Sheridan entertains a trade involving Miami Heat and young big man Hasan Whiteside (as well as severall other assets: Luol Deng and Justise Winslow).
Trade Rate %: All things considered, I’d still say the chance for the Rockets to trade Dwight Howard is 10% if that much.
Is anyone even interested in Ty Lawson?
For a moment before the season started it looked like the Houston Rockets were destined to repeat last season’s success and more with the addition of floor general Ty Lawson.
Now, after almost 30% of the season concluded it’s obvious the experiment didn’t work. Lawson had a few good games but now he is nothing more than a role player that comes off the bench in place of Patrick Beverley.
While fans are incredibly eager to send Lawson packing from Houston, that is not the same opinion of the coaching staff.
Ty is by far the biggest disappointment of the season and although many hope for his recovery, every time Lawson is on the court he doesn’t even resemble the player he once was last season for the Nuggets. If the Rockets choose to move Lawson it will be a difficult task as his value is now highly depreciated.
That, plus what I believe is head coach JB’s faith that he can rehabilitate the talented point guard, makes me believe that for good or bad, Ty Lawson will finish the 2015-2016 season in Houston.
Trade Rate %: Unless things reach a danger zone where the Rockets place in the playoffs are threatened by February, I’d put the chances of Ty Lawson leaving Houston at 0%.
Predicting Terrence Jones’ Future
Although there are wishes to retain the services of the talented power forward, Jones remains the Rockets only asset who is attainable for an affordable price.
As much as I like Terrence Jones I’m afraid there’s absolutely no motives for Houston Rockets to keep him for three reasons:
First: He’ll be a restricted free agent next year and the Rockets will likely have to spend much more than what they are willing to in order to retain TJ.
Second: Donatas Motiejunas has returned to the lineup and is slowly eating up Terrence Jones’ minutes as every game he looks more and more comfortable and less rusty.
Harrell ended up with 24 points, 15 rebounds, 2 blocks and he scored two shots from beyond the arc as well.
All those things combined might point to Terrence Jones’ imminent exit.
More from Space City Scoop
- Rockets: Time to return the slander towards Rachel Nichols
- What the Rockets must do with the second overall pick
- Houston Rockets: The case for, and against, trading Christian Wood
- NBA Rumors: Why the Houston Rockets shouldn’t trade up to no. 1 in NBA Draft
- 3 players that would be a perfect fit for the Houston Rockets at 23 or 24
In exchange for TJ the Rockets are looking for Markieff Morris but I would not be surprised if Houston ends up landing Ryan Anderson as Daryl Morey has always been a fan of the talented shooting power forward. And with Anderson having a career year (18 points and almost 7 rebounds) I’d be more seduced with that option. That said there is a good chance these two players (Anderson/Morris) end up being traded for each other.
Nevertheless for those trades to happen the Rockets would have to pack someone else with TJ to work out the contract issues as the team is hard-capped. One likely solution is the insertion of either Corey Brewer or most likely K.J. McDaniels as JB Bickerstaff is clearly not a fan of the small forward slasher.
Trade Rate %: 95% – I’d be really surprised if Terrence Jones remains in a Rockets uniform for the remainder of the season.
Make sure you catch up on our entire Team Preview Series, our Houston Rockets Player Profile Series as well as our SCS Round Table Sessions. Start your morning with SCS Rocket Science Daily and visit us throughout the day to keep abreast of all your Houston Rockets news and updates.