Could the Houston Rockets Trade for Serge Ibaka?
By Ben Casey
With the trade deadline quickly approaching, there has been talk of the Houston Rockets trading for Serge Ibaka. Could that actually happen?
Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey recently said that he’d be less likely to make any trades this season than in previous years. However, it’d be foolish to assume he won’t at least take a look at his options. There are several players up for grabs who could work well in Houston, but Serge Ibaka‘s name has made the most noise among Rockets fans as of late.
We have a more lengthy trade potential piece coming later this week, but I want to quickly take a look at what would have to happen for the Orlando Magic to give up Ibaka.
It’s safe to assume that the Magic will want young players and/or picks in return for the power forward from Congo. They’re looking to go into a rebuilding stage, and having aging big men on the roster works in opposition to that goal. The Rockets have plenty of young talent at their disposal, so it’s likely that a deal could be made.
How It Would Work
As far as I can tell, there’s really only one viable option for both teams. The Rockets mainly give up players who don’t or shouldn’t see much court time (given their three-heavy system), and get a player who fits perfectly in return. The Magic give up an expensive, older player for two young, cheap guys with potential.
K.J. McDaniels is unproven but is also young and could be developed, and Montrezl Harrell could instantly replace Ibaka in Orlando’s lineup. Corey Brewer is included simply to get him off Houston’s hands.
It is likely that the Magic would demand some icing on the cake to make this trade happen, though. If that were the case, the Rockets could easily throw in a protected first round pick or something like that. Losing a first rounder wouldn’t be ideal for the future, but the Rockets shouldn’t be too future-minded right now. It’s not often that you have the MVP-to-be on your roster surrounded with perfect-fit role guys.
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Despite how much sense this makes to me, I still doubt it will happen. Daryl Morey, for once, isn’t inclined to make any moves, and the Rockets are winning games. It would be inherently risky to make a deadline move, since Houston has much to lose this time around.
It’s also worth noting that James Harden likes the roster as is, according to the Houston Chronicle. The feel is drastically different from last year, when rumors circulated about Harden and Dwight Howard wanting the other traded.
Still, the thought of adding a big man who offers both rim protection and outside shooting is enticing. Ibaka and Harden played together with the Oklahoma City Thunder for a time, and a reunion wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
Next: A Closer Look at the Rockets' Recent Struggles
The trade deadline is on February 23rd this season, which leaves only about two weeks for Morey and the rest of Houston’s front office to make some Magic happen.