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The Houston Rockets should turn their attention to Davis Bertans

By Anthony Duckett
Washington Wizards Davis Bertans (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Davis Bertans (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
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With the Houston Rockets facing a tough challenge of landing Robert Covington, there’s a cheaper option that the Rockets should consider instead.

According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Houston Rockets are interested in acquiring former Rockets forward Robert Covington, which would make for a great addition to a Rockets’ team in need of additional shooting and elite defenders. Adding Covington won’t be easy, however, as the Rockets will have to finagle the mathematics to put together a successful trade in order to balance out the salaries.

The Rockets’ total outgoing salaries would have to be in the neighborhood of Covington’s $11.3 million, which would require General Manager Daryl Morey’s best work. This would have been much easier were it not for the NBA’s earlier decision to reduce the outgoing trade value of Nene’s contract, which has left the Rockets scrambling for ways to figure out how to pull this off.

With the Covington trade requiring a significant amount of work, it would be wise for Morey to shift his attention to a less expensive player: Davis Bertans of the Washington Wizards. Although he’s not nearly the defender Covington is, Bertans is a 6-foot-10 forward who can absolutely light it up from downtown, which will certainly be appealing to the Rockets. This season, Bertans is averaging 15.7 points per game on an insane 46.5 percent from 3-point range, which would be a Rockets’ team-high.

Bertans would present a threat to the opposing defensive strategy of double-teaming James Harden, as he currently has the fifth-best 3-point shooting percentage in the league. From a contractual standpoint, Bertans is set to make $7.5 million this season, and he would be a free agent at the end of the season. Bertans’ pending free agency would also appeal to the Rockets as they wouldn’t have any long-term ties to the 27-year old Latvian sniper.

Sure, it would deprive the Rockets of future assets, but if Bertans ends up being the missing piece for the Rockets to win a title then it would be well worth it. Bertans 15.7 points per game average would currently be third on the Rockets, behind only Harden and Russell Westbrook.

To make this trade work, the Rockets would have to send away Nene, Thabo Sefolosha, Gary Clark, and Isaiah Hartenstein or Gerald Green. If it comes down to that, it would be wise for the Rockets to pull the trigger, as Sefolosha, Clark and Harty have yet to earn the favor of Rockets’ coach Mike D’Antoni this season. Granted, the Wizards would be unlikely to take on all four players because they would have to create the necessary roster space, so the Rockets would most certainly have to involve another team or teams.

If other teams get involved, that will most likely mean the Houston Rockets would have to include multiple draft picks, which would be worth it if it only means parting with several second-round draft picks. Although this would be a difficult trade to pull off, it would be easier than it would be to pull off a Covington trade.

Washington would be wise to get rid of Bertans, as he will be a free agent at the end of the season and will surely be tempted by the opportunity to join a contender. Bertans didn’t sign with Washington in the first place, as his original deal was with the San Antonio Spurs.

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To this point, we’ve not heard any word regarding the Houston Rockets’ interest in Bertans so it’s merely speculation at this point, but it would be wise for the Rockets to make the call to the Wizards.

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