Last season, in one of Daryl Morey’s final moves as the Houston Rockets general manager, the team signed David Nwaba to a unique contract. Nwaba had suffered an Achilles tear in December of 2019 and was promptly released by the Brooklyn Nets as he was in the final year of his contract.
The Rockets, with an eye on the future, saw an opportunity to add a talented player in need of a new home and signed Nwaba to a two-year contract. The deal paid Nwaba $903,111 in 2019-20 to rehab from his Achilles injury and it offered a team option for $1.8 million in 2020-21.
The deal was a win for both sides, it gave Nwaba some financial security as he came back from a serious injury and the team option allowed the Rockets to see how his body responded before committing to him for 2020-21.
The Rockets’ faith and upfront investment in Nwaba has paid off handsomely this season. Nwaba has been one of the best defensive players in the league and it is no coincidence that the Rockets’ suddenly excellent defense showed up the moment Nwaba did.
Why teams should be all-in for David Nwaba
Unfortunately, the Rockets have been in free fall and should begin selling off players on expiring deals to build for the future. Nwaba has shown enough this season to be on the top of defense needy teams lists.
He is a versatile defender that takes the most analytically efficient shots, something front offices keep an eye out for with role players, and his $1.8 million contract for this season means he’ll fit into just about any teams’ budget. Nwaba could help any team, but the team that needs him the most is the Denver Nuggets.
For the season, the Nuggets have the sixth-best offensive rating but the 20th defensive rating. Their net-rating is sixth in the league and a slight improvement on the defensive end could see them make it into the top-five.
David Nwaba is a rental but he won’t come cheap, he’s too good and too valuable to a playoff team. These are three trades the Nuggets should swing to land David Nwaba and what the Rockets could get in return.
Next: Trade #3