7 players the Houston Rockets should target on the buyout market

Maurice Harkless (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)
Maurice Harkless (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Maurice Harkless (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images) /

1. Moe Harkless

Moe Harkless was recently included in a deal on the day of the trade deadline, which moved him from the Los Angeles Clippers to the New York Knicks. This moved Harkless from a contender to a lottery team, as the Clips landed Marcus Morris in exchange for the St. John’s product.

Immediately after he was traded to New York, questions arose regarding a buyout, as the 17-36 Knicks have no need for the 26-year-old forward. According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks would be willing to buy out Harkless if he requests it, and it’s hard to imagine him not wanting it. After playing on the Clips, who are viewed as one of the better teams in the Western Conference, the last thing Harkless should want is to be on one of the worst teams in the league.

If Harkless is in fact bought out, the Houston Rockets should be interested in him for a number of reasons. For starters, he’s 6-foot-7, and the Rockets need for more size has been highly publicized, ever since coach Mike D’Antoni first employed the small-ball lineup. On top of that, Harkless shot 37 percent from deep this season, and we all know how much the Rockets love the 3-point shot.

Harkless actually fared even better during the 2017-18 season, as he shot 41.5 percent from downtown that year, which is good enough to be considered a sniper. The Rockets are shooting 34.8 percent from deep this season, which ranks 23rd in the league, and could use more long-range shooters.

Perhaps the biggest strength of Harkless is his lockdown defense, as he had a defensive box plus minus of 3.0, which was tied with Patrick Beverley for a Clippers team-high. Not only that, this is the 17th best rating in the entire league, and the Houston Rockets don’t have anyone in that top 17 class.

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Harkless would provide size, 3-point shooting and elite defense, and would be more than worth it for the Houston Rockets to pursue for the rest of the season.