The Houston Rockets are improving after a slow start to the season. Can they make even more improvements by trading with a disgruntled team?
The Houston Rockets are back over .500 for the first time this year after a nice win against the Kings a couple of nights ago. They have improved exponentially since the 1-5 start to the season, but how can they look to get even better as the season progresses?
In comes Washington. The Wizards have been rumored to be willing to sell off practically their entire team if the right offer comes around for them. Can the Rockets make them an offer and get one of their disgruntled players? More importantly, should they?
Houston, in recent years, has always been at least interested in almost every available good player. That could be the case with the guys in Washington.
Let’s take a look at a few of the valuable players on their squad who could be useful to Houston:
Next: Bradley Beal
Right off the bat, we are going to skip John Wall. His position is redundant and he is not a great shooter, something the Rockets need.
You might think Bradley Beal is a bit redundant as well. That may prove to be the case, but with the small lineups the Rockets run, he or James Harden could possibly start at small forward, making a dangerous offensive lineup.
Beal is averaging 21.5 points and 3.5 assists a night on 45.5% shooting, 34% from deep (career 39% shooter from 3).
A small lineup with Eric Gordon at the 3 last year was one of the most dangerous lineups for Houston. Could that be the case with Beal? Speaking of EG, a package similar to the Jimmy Butler one with him and multiple draft picks would likely be offered to Washington.
I have several issues with this idea. Beal is obviously better than Gordon, but would he be willing to accept a smaller role in the prime of his career? He was a first-time All-Star last year and likely wouldn’t have the numbers to make a case in Houston. Also, I think the Wizards can get much more for a solid young player with 2+ years of control.
It would take some Morey Magic and some serious convincing of Beal to make this a viable option.
Next: Otto Porter
Arguably the best fit from the Wizards would be the young Otto Porter. He would instantly slide into the starting small forward position and could bring some serious firepower from the perimeter.
His regression this year is likely due to the poor situation he is in with Washington. Before this season, he had two straight years of shooting over 43% from 3, an absolutely insane number that would be incredible in the offense of the Rockets.
His defense is decent enough to keep him out there. He currently leads the Wizards in defensive box plus-minus, for what that’s worth.
Figuring out this trade package would be tough. The Rockets wouldn’t want to give up Eric Gordon for a non-star, so they’d likely go for expiring deals and draft picks. Brandon Knight, a young player + a first rounder would be an interesting offer, but I’m not sure if that gets it done.
There is one glaring issue with acquiring Porter. His contract is top-tier bad and could cause some serious issues in the future if he doesn’t pan out. He is owed an average of $27 million a year, yes, a year, throughout the next three seasons. That’s some serious money for a very good role player.
I’m a big Otto Porter fan, but I’m not sure that’s worth even pursuing. If something goes wrong, that’s a lot of money to dish out and would pretty much put Houston out of next year’s free agency class even more. The positive is that he’s probably a pretty moveable asset, I suppose, but not if he struggles.
I wouldn’t be mad if this deal goes down, but I would be a tad bit worried about the future. It’s all about winning in the present for the Rockets right now, though, with their window confined to the Chris Paul contract.
Two more names to throw out there are Kelly Oubre Jr. and Markieff Morris. They both are solid players and could potentially help the Rockets off the bench.
Kelly Oubre Jr.
This may not be the best option out there for the Rockets, but Oubre is still a young player that has shown flashes of being solid. He shot 34% from 3 last year, though that’s down to 28% in the early going of this season. He’s athletic, which is good for the defensive switching scheme. His play on that end is fairly inconsistent, though.
I wouldn’t mind this deal, but I wouldn’t want Houston to give up too much. He could be solid in limited minutes off the bench.
Morris can be a headcase at times, but his production is tough to ignore. He shot 36% from downtown last year as well as the year before, a solid number from the power forward position. He can go off on any given night but had a rough year on defense last season. He’s generally been solid, or at least average, on that end, so maybe a change of scenery could help him there.
Once again, I wouldn’t give up too much for Morris, but he could be productive in a bench role in Houston.
It’s tough for me to see the Rockets giving up too much of their team to make a deal with the Wizards. They are finally starting to play really well together and I wouldn’t really want to mess that up.
If the right deal comes up, though, expect Morey to jump right on it if he can. Someone like Porter might be worth the financial risk if he can be a super-role player for the team. We’ll have to wait and see what happens!