Countdown to NBA trade deadline February 18: Should Houston Rockets trade for Al Horford
February is the final month teams can make trades and as such the SCS writers will be offering up a special daily segment on Houston Rockets trade ideas which will run right up until February 18th.
What does General Manager Daryl Morey have up his sleeve? As I pondered that thought I also looked at the team to consider which position has the biggest issues on the current roster in the short term and over the long haul. And the answer was simple – – say it with me: the Power Forward Position.
With that here is the trade I suggest the Rockets make:
What Rockets could offer, and does the trade work?
Let’s look at each component of the trade:
Terrence Jones lacks consistency, mental toughness, and heart. Jones was benched last year in the playoffs and this year for his inconsistent play. Jones doesn’t do the necessary things next to James Harden and Dwight Howard to win ball games. Listen Jones has a lot of talent and would probably average 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Philadelphia 76ers, but that’s not what the Rockets need next to Howard and Harden.
Houston needs a tough, consistent, and scrappy type of player on defense at the power forward position. Someone who is willing to dive on the floor for loose balls, chase after loose rebounds, and help Howard in the paint on defense. Terrence Jones is not that guy and it saddens me to say this. I’m afraid we have seen the finished product with Jones.
Donatas Motiejūnas has tremendous value. A guy who can space the floor at seven foot and knock down three’s at a great percentage. Motiejunas shot 36.8% from three last year and is currently shooting 41.2% from three this year. Motiejunas also has arguably the best post game in the NBA that he developed last year. .
D-Mo is coming off major back surgery and at 7 foot that sets off all kinds of red flags. The Rockets pushed Motiejunas back from injury early deeming him the savior of the Rockets season. D-Mo ended up re-aggravating that back injury forcing Houston to shut him down indefinitely. Although a long time beat writer for the Houston Rockets Jason Friedman once told me something that will forever stick in my head, “7 footers don’t grow on trees”.
Corey Brewer would be a throw in to make the contracts work. I don’t think many Rocket fan would object to losing Brewer this season. Brewer continues to have a horrendous year and K.J. McDaniels would easily fill that void.
Obviously the Atlanta Hawks would have to cut two players because the NBA only allows 15 players to be on the roster. More then likely Justin Holiday and Shelvin Mack would be the players released for the Hawks.
Al Horford continues to play out of position for the Hawks at the center position. Horford is 6’10 but not big enough to guard real centers that are 7’0 in the post. Horford is now a threat at spreading the floor knocking down 51 three’s out of a possible 151 attempts for 33.8%. To put that number into perspective, in the first eight seasons Horford had only attempted 65 three’s throughout his career.
Horford is a born winner and shows up in big time moments. Horford is a team player who will sacrifice his stats in order to get the win instead. Horford won two NCAA national titles with the Florida Gators.
Jones, D-Mo, and Horford are in contract years. Meaning all three contracts will expire after this year and they will be looking to get paid. Do the Hawks believe Al Horford at 29 years old wants to finish his career with them? Do you risk losing Horford in free agency for nothing? Bottom line this trade helps both teams.
How this trade works for both teams
For the Rockets Horford improves the defense. Horford paired together with Howard helps out rebounding and controlling points in the paint. Horford is an elite rim protector who is averaging 1.4 blocks per game this year. Also Horford is an excellent finisher around the rim shooting 72.6% from zero to three feet from the basket. Horford allows the Rockets to go small at times for different match-ups.
The Hawks addition of D-Mo and Jones allows them to get younger and more athletic. D-Mo helps unclog the paint for Paul Millsap by spacing the floor. Motiejunas also brings another scoring option to the post. Jones coming off the bench brings instant offense. The Hawks struggle to rebound and currently rank 29th in rebounds per game. Jones is a excellent rebounder and would help the Hawks on the boards. Jones is averaging 10.1 rebounds per game per 36 minutes this year.
Odds trade will occur
Listen it’s a 50/50 shot, but the Hawks have a decision to make with Horford. Wait and take your chances on free agency or move Horford at the deadline to maximize his value. The Rockets have the assets to entice the Hawks management to part ways with Horford.
So what’s your take? Would you welcome Al Horford to Clutch City? Share your thoughts and offer your potential trade ideas in the comments section below.
With the trade deadline around the corner make sure you visit Space City Scoop daily for our trade series. Each day SCS will feature an article on who the Rockets should trade for or what it would take to part ways with the players currently on the roster. Finally we’ll assess the Rockets and each team in the Association in terms of what their needs are, if they should be buyers or sellers and also speculate on who would be the ideal trade target.