The New York Knicks are taking calls on Kristaps Porzingis. Could the Houston Rockets jump in and acquire the talented big man?
The off-season is turning out to be more exciting than the NBA Playoffs were. New York’s favorite general manager, Phil “The Zen Master” Jackson, is reportedly entertaining calls on rising star Kristaps Porzingis. In addition to a meeting with Chris Paul next month, the Houston Rockets may engage with the Knicks regarding a possible trade for Porzingis. But, can the Rockets really pull this off? Probably not, considering the fact that we don’t know what the Knicks would command in return. However, the Rockets look scarier with the “Zinger” alongside James Harden.
Sources say several teams are interested in trading for Kristaps Porzingis.https://t.co/x6BBPGgoc7
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 20, 2017
Let’s take a look at what it might take to get Porzingis and how he fits with the Rockets.
What can the Houston Rockets offer for Porzingis?
While it might be a long shot to get the Latvian big man in Houston, it isn’t ruled out completely. With Daryl Morey’s persistence, there is always a chance to make moves. Currently, the Houston Rockets have 2 second round picks for this year’s draft. Clearly not enough to get the “Unicorn” out of New York. Perhaps it would take a second rounder packaged with two players?
Consequently, one of those players would have to be a key contributor. Probably the players to be packaged in a deal would be Sam Dekker, Ryan Anderson, Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, and/or Eric Gordon. A combination of two of those players and one second round pick might be enough to pull it off. However, the lack of a first round pick makes this trade highly unlikely to happen.
Whether the Rockets engage in trade discussions remains a mystery. Nonetheless, it will be a tall task to get him in Rocket Red.
Now let’s take a look at how Porzingis would fit within the Houston Rocket’s scheme.
The “Zinger” and The “Beard”
The nicknames sound great individually, but together they sound scary. More importantly, Porzingis addresses several needs for the Houston Rockets. Last season, the 7’3″ Porzingis averaged 18.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game on 45% shooting, 35.7% from 3 point land. Those numbers improve upon Ryan Anderson’s numbers, 13.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 0.2 blocks per game. Because of Anderson’s lack of defense, Porzingis would be a serious upgrade in the front court. Pair him up front with Clint Capela, and it could turn into the modern day “Twin Towers.” The “Zinger” would relieve pressure off Capela on the defensive end by adding more rim protection and his ability on offense would open the floor up for the Rockets 3 point shooting. He can draw double teams, leaving opposing defenses to choose between defending him or Harden.
While adding Porzingis to the mix will be tough, it would certainly boost the title hopes of the Houston Rockets. His presence here would also make Houston a more attractive free agent destination. Perhaps this is Daryl Morey’s trick up his sleeve. A duo of James Harden and Porzingis alongside Trevor Ariza, Capela, Nene, Gordon, and Beverley (assuming Beverley, Nene, and Gordon remain) improves upon last year’s squad. Porzingis is great on both ends with size, and that is something the Rockets really need.
*All stats via Basketball-Reference*