#2. Former players on the trading block are performing well
There has been a lot of chatter prior to the team’s win streak about dumping players for picks which would imply the franchise is heading for a rebuild. However, with the James Harden trade along with other roster transactions made by General Manager Rafael Stone, the Houston Rockets have done a great job of replenishing draft capital while also simultaneously adding young and developing players such as Christian Wood, Jae’Sean Tate, Kevin Porter Jr. and other young assets like Mason Jones and KJ Martin.
Players such as P.J. Tucker, Eric Gordon, and Victor Oladipo are names that Houston Rockets fans on social media platforms have been circulating in trade talks. With the direction that the team was heading in given the trade of James Harden, it looked like the Houston Rockets were going to tear it all down.
Tucker is in the final year of his contract and discussions about an extension haven’t made progress. Gordon, who after his first season as a Houston Rocket, has been on a decline statistically speaking.
His shooting percentage was abominable last season after finishing with a field-goal percentage of 36.9 percent. Danuel House spent much of the season dealing with a minor injury and then going through COVID protocols, which left fans frustrated.
As previously mentioned, Tucker’s contract is up after this season and the team and his agent have been unable to come to terms on a contract extension. Multiple teams have called to inquire about his availability and Tucker is reportedly “not opposed” to a trade.
With many teams interested in Tucker’s service, the team should look to offer him an extension as he has played a pivotal role in helping this team establishing a defense first identity. The Houston Rockets are currently second in defensive rating behind the Los Angeles Lakers. John Wall recently elaborated on the value Tucker brings to the Rockets.
“PJ may not show up in the stat sheets, but all of the stuff he does and communicating on the defensive end and taking that challenge, that’s a guy you want to have on your team,” said Wall.
It’s quite evident that Tucker’s value to this team is his veteran presence and his energy and defense. If the team’s goal is to remain competitive, it would be wise to sign Tucker to a friendly extension as he can continue to help anchor the defense.
Eric Gordon turned 32-years-old earlier this season and he is the only player besides KJ Martin who is signed until the 2023-24 season. With his struggles over the past couple of years shooting the ball along with his slow start this season, he has been a name that has been tossed in trade rumors multiple times.
However, his contract at first glance hasn’t looked very appealing for suitors. With Harden’s departure, Gordon has been playing extremely well and has seen a drastic increase in scoring, a career-high in shooting average, and an improvement in shooting the 3-ball.
With the team at full health, Gordon has been a critical player off the bench. The team should refrain from trading Gordon this season despite his value rising.
It’s hard to dismiss his importance on both ends of the floor and how if the Houston Rockets want to remain in playoff contention, it would be wise to hold on to him.
Lastly, other players on the roster such as Victor Oladipo and Danuel House are members of the team that were part of trade discussions. While Oladipo has expressed his desire to be traded to the Miami Heat as a preferred destination prior to being shipped to the Houston Rockets, he has been a pleasant acquisition for this team.
With this being the final year of his contract, it begs the question of whether the Houston Rockets should shop him before the season ends or to risk letting him walk in free agency. Given Oladipo’s excellent two-way play, it would be beneficial for the Houston Rockets to keep him on board, as he is a valuable member and important reason why the team is currently at the top of the charts in defensive performance.
Next: Reason #1