Rockets: 4 trades for James Harden from the Portland Trail Blazers
2. Rockets receive CJ McCollum, Anfernee Simons, Nassir Little, Gary Trent Jr, draft capital
This deal would figure to be a win for both the Houston Rockets and the Blazers, as it would allow the Blazers to pair Lillard with Harden. This specific package would allow the Rockets to replenish their barren draft capital, which was stripped by former general manager Daryl Morey, who traded the farm for Russell Westbrook, in attempts to appease James Harden.
Although many Rockets fans blame Harden for the Westbrook trade, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta also wanted the deal to be done, but more so because of who the Rockets were giving up in Chris Paul. Fertitta reportedly thought Paul had the worst contract he had ever seen in business or sports, and was willing to pay the price to get rid of Paul’s contract.
In this trade, the Rockets would get back three first-round draft picks, in addition to two pick swaps, which would armor Rockets general manager Rafael Stone with the ability to build for the future, whether it be getting a future star in a trade with said draft picks or drafting a future star. McCollum is under contract through 2024 and is currently averaging 29 points and 7.3 assists, which bodes well for both his ability to score and create offense for others.
In addition, McCollum is making 42.9 percent of his threes and 90.9 percent of his free throws. The Rockets would also get back two young prospects in Anfernee Simons, who is 21-years-old, and Nassir Little, who is 20-years-old. Simons is in the midst of a 2020-21 season in which he’s shooting 40 percent from long-range and has a Player Efficiency Rating of 21.5.
At 6-foot-3, Simons can play either guard position, which also fills a need for the Rockets, as they need another ballhandler on the second-unit. The Rockets lost Austin Rivers in free agency, which was to be expected, as he turned down significantly more money to sign with the Rockets in the summer of 2019.
The Rockets brought Chris Clemons to training camp, who suffered an untimely Achilles tear, which guaranteed his salary and prevented them from being able to bring in a more experienced and proven guard, due to the hard cap. This deal would equip the Houston Rockets with an additional ball-handler, a future prospect in Little, a bevy of draft capital, and several good players in McCollum and Trent.
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