Despite having the trading deadline come to an end Thursday afternoon, the Houston Rockets have made a dramatic upgrade to their roster. They signed Brandan Wright and Joe Johnson over the last 24 hours.
In a day that saw The Cleveland Cavaliers send Isaiah Thomas to the Los Angeles Lakers and Dwyane Wade back to Miami Heat, to everyone’s surprise, Daryl Morey let the 2018 trade deadline end without making one single move for the Rockets.
And it is easy to understand why.
Morey has watched his team go from underdogs to arguably the best team in the NBA. With only five days left before the All-Star break, the Houston Rockets have possessed the second-best record in the league (41-13) and is currently riding a seven-game winning streak, following their victory over the Denver Nuggets.
Despite not making a move on Thursday, Morey has found a way to upgrade his team without trading away one player. Friday afternoon, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports reported that the Rockets will sign veteran forward, Brandan Wright, following his buyout from the Memphis Grizzlies.
If that wasn’t good enough, the Rockets made another move early Saturday morning. According to ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski, Houston has made another splash by signing seven-time All-Star, Joe Johnson, following his buyout agreement from the Sacramento Kings.
With the success, the Rockets have already experienced this season, the signing of Wright and Johnson may have made the Rockets pursuit of beating the Golden State Warriors and winning the championship more realistic.
With Wright, the Rockets have added another high-flying defensive big man whose game resembles that of Clint Capela. This is an awesome move for the Rockets because they now have three bigs who can create havoc for their opponents on the defensive end.
While battling injuries the last two season, Wright’s value may have fallen off around the league. But when healthy, Wright is still a player to respect.
In 27 games played for the Grizzlies, Wright averaged 5.0 points and 0.9 blocks. He also shot a respectable 57.6 percent from the field.
Wright’s pickup was great, but the biggest move the Rockets made was the signing of Joe Johnson. Although, he may not be the same player who once averaged 25.0 points for the Atlanta Hawks. At 36 years-old, though, Johnson still has a lot left in his game.
Last year during the 2017 postseason, Johnson played a primary factor to help the Utah Jazz upset the Los Angeles Clippers. He averaged 15.7 points on 43.6 percent shooting during the seven-game series.
While reuniting with Mike D’Antoni, Houston has added another player who is capable of scoring at a high level. With Johnson, this gives the Rockets several players who can close out a tough playoff game. The others are James Harden, Chris Paul, Eric Gordon, and Gerald Green.
The Rockets have made a dramatic upgrade to their team over the past 24 hours. They are expected to make a deep playoff run in the next few months. After signing both of these players, do not be surprised if you see Houston competing for a title come June.