7 players the Houston Rockets can land through trade exceptions

Houston Rockets TJ McConnell (Photo by Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets TJ McConnell (Photo by Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images) /
8 of 8
Houston Rockets
TJ McConnell (Photo by Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images) /

1. TJ McConnell

Indiana Pacers guard TJ McConnell would be a perfect fit for a Rockets team in search of 3-and-D contributors. The fifth-year guard is shooting 36.4 percent from downtown this season, which is a notch lower than the blazing 43.5 percent clip he reached during the 2017-18 season.

The Pacers reserve guard is only playing 18.8 minutes per game, which is a career-low and has a large part to do with the fact that he’s only averaging 6.8 points per game. In spite of that, he’s still having a career year from a player efficiency standpoint, as his PER is 16.5.

In spite of McConnell only being 6-foot-1, he has a defensive field goal percentage of 41.3 percent, which would be second on the Rockets behind only Eric Gordon. McConnell’s defense would instantly improve a Rockets backcourt in need of defensive-minded guards. McConnell has per 36 averages of 13 points and 9.8 assists, which could allow James Harden and Russell Westbrook to potentially play fewer minutes.

As McConnell is only making $3.5 million this season, the Rockets could use the $3.6 million trade exception they received in the Brandon Knight trade to clear the salaries. But why would the Pacers send away the 27-year-old guard considering what he can bring on both ends of the floor?

Kendrick Perkins calls for the firing of D'Antoni. Next

McConnell is playing less than 20 minutes per night in spite of the Pacers being without Victor Oladipo due to injury. With Oladipo finally set to return soon, will the Pacers have a need for McConnell considering they’ve not really turned to him in Oladipo’s absence? It would seem like he would be less useful because Indiana will move Jeremy Lamb to the second unit, which will add yet another player who McConnell will have to split minutes with in addition to Oladipo.