3. Houston Rockets send Oladipo to Denver for future prospects
As the rumor mill has raged on leading up to the deadline, one of the teams connected to Oladipo has been the Denver Nuggets.
To start the season, Denver has been carried by the MVP-level play of playmaking big man Nikola Jokic. If not for him, they would be near the bottom of the Western Conference.
This slow start came as a surprise to most since the Nuggets made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals last year, before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games. As the deadline approaches, Denver will be taking stock of their playoff prospects, and Oladipo may be able to patch some of their roster deficiencies, particularly defensively.
Oladipo, although he has struggled offensively since coming to Houston, is still a plus-defender, and fits the mold of the kind of wing defender that Denver will need moving into the playoffs. That being said, if the Rockets are looking to get as many young assets as possible, Denver has the pieces to make the deal work.
The centerpiece of the deal would be R.J. Hampton, the 19-year-old point guard, who has been lost in the shuffle on Denver’s bench. Despite his lack of playing time, Hampton has the potential to be a strong building block for the future.
For salary-matching purposes, the Nuggets would have to attach Gary Harris to the deal. Since Harris has a bad contract and still has another year left on his deal, the Rockets should be able to use that to their advantage.
Therefore, it is certainly plausible that the Rockets could lobby for the Nuggets to send over their unprotected 2021 first-round pick, especially since they are likely to make the playoffs regardless.
Next: No. 2