Why the Houston Rockets should be buyers at the trade deadline
With the way the team chemistry currently is, and the confidence and fun this team has been exuding since getting rid of the people who didn’t want to be here, the Rockets can be a dark horse contender this season. The team has adopted a hard-nosed, tireless work ethic on both sides of the court and that makes any team dangerous, especially one that is armed with three healthy former All-Stars in Wall, Oladipo, and DeMarcus Cousins, a healthy former Sixth Man of the Year in Eric Gordon, and a leading candidate for Most Improved Player of the Year in Christian Wood.
If the Rockets intend to be aggressive to add players to contend this year, it is unlikely that any of the key players get traded, which would take superstar players like Bradley Beal and Ben Simmons off the table. That would leave the Rockets with trades to get players that they identify as having the potential to exceed expectations and add the factor to push them over the top.
The depth of the Rockets means that it is unlikely that everyone will be able to find a way to play on a frequent enough basis to make an impact. On top of that, youngsters like Mason Jones have shown flashes of potential and Kevin Porter Jr. could become an impactful player down the stretch. That leaves players like Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, and Ben McLemore on the outside of the rotation and potential trade pieces to pick up a good player that can be impactful this year.
The combined salary of Exum, Kurucs and McLemore gives the Rockets an outgoing salary of $13.1 million dollars, which would allow the Rockets to bring back roughly $17 million dollars in salary. This would bring players like Aaron Gordon, Marcus Smart, J.J Redick, and Derrick Rose into play and it’s possible that Rafael Stone thinks these players can give the Rockets the X-factor to add with the current team to make them a true contender.
With some teams with talented players struggling to compete, the Rockets have the ability to build a competitive trade package of young players and valuable draft picks to put themselves in a position to shock the world.