Rockets News

Houston Rockets: Three trades the Raptors need to make to land James Harden

SAITAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 10: James Harden #13 of Houston Rockets drives to the basket against Pascal Siakam #43 of Toronto Raptors during the preseason match between Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets at Saitama Super Arena on October 10, 2019 in Saitama, Japan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images)
SAITAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 10: James Harden #13 of Houston Rockets drives to the basket against Pascal Siakam #43 of Toronto Raptors during the preseason match between Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets at Saitama Super Arena on October 10, 2019 in Saitama, Japan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images)
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Houston Rockets
Matt Thomas #21 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors trade #2

Once again this Raptor’s trade is headlined by Pascal Siakam and the reason remains simple. He’s young, productive, under contract for multiple seasons, and his $30 million in salary helps the two sides work out the salary cap implications of trading James Harden.

This trade package is designed to help the Rockets build a contender in the future but provides less immediate help. Patrick McCaw is in the trade for salary purposes but Matt Thomas and Malachi Flynn could be important role players in the future.

McCaw is under contract for this season at $4 million, which is a fair price for a rotation piece. He doesn’t add much on offense, is a solid defender, and he has been a part of three championship teams.

It can’t be overlooked but not a single player on the Rockets has been a part of a championship-winning team. If the Rockets are serious about a cultural reset after Harden’s departure then a player with as much championship experience as McCaw could pay dividends.

Thomas is 25-years-old and in his second NBA season but do not let his late start fool you, he is a useful NBA player. Over his short career, he has shot 47.7-percent from 3-point range on 2.5 attempts a game.

What makes his acquisition even more enticing for the Rockets is that he is under contract for the next two seasons for a non-guaranteed total of $3.3 million. Thomas is shaping up to be the Canadian version of Duncan Robinson, as a late-blooming 3-point specialist.

Malachi Flynn was the Raptors’ first-round pick in the 2020 draft and projects as a back-up point guard long term. His lack of size, listed at 6’1, means he’ll likely never be a plus on the defensive end but he was praised for his offensive ability coming out of college.

Flynn is cheap and has upside, which essentially makes him an additional draft pick coming back for the Rockets. He has potential as a 3-point shooter but having cheap depth in the backcourt is a must in the modern NBA and he should be able to step in a do that right away.

Once again the Raptors will have to give up four first-round picks but they’ll be retaining a bit more talent that can produce right away. This trade sets the Rockets up more for the future, which would make it unlikely that they would make the playoffs this season if they sign off on this deal.

Next: Trade #1

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