The Houston Rockets figured to be the most active team at the trade deadline, as there were reports that the team was shopping P.J. Tucker, Danuel House, Sterling Brown, Ben McLemore, and two-way wing Victor Oladipo. The Rockets shipped away Tucker in one of their first deadline moves, returning D.J. Wilson, D.J. Augustin, a future first-round pick and a pick swap in this year’s NBA Draft, giving up a second-round pick and netting a first-round pick from Milwaukee.
With Rockets GM Rafael Stone having shipped away Tucker already, Oladipo became the next premier trade target for the franchise, as Oladipo had been a two-time All-Star and former All-NBA selection who was rounding into form after a subpar start with the franchise. Oladipo had averages of 18.4 points on 38.6 percent from the field and 29.9 percent from three through his first 11 games in Houston, but upped his scoring and field goal efficiency over his final nine games, to the tune of 24.7 points with a field goal percentage just shy of 43 percent and 3-point clip of 34.2 percent.
Oladipo had been linked to a handful of teams, such as the Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat, and New York Knicks, with the Rockets reportedly asking for a young, player and a first-round draft pick. In recent days it had been reported that the franchise believed that they’d be able to land the package they were pursuing for Oladipo, as reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Rockets ultimately dealt Oladipo to the Miami in a last minute deadline deal that sent Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk to the Space City, with a 2022 pick swap headlining the deal. Immediately after the details were unveiled, many Rockets fans were in awe, as the 30-year-old Bradley and the soon-to-be 30-year-old Olynyk don’t exactly meet the definition of a “young player.”
Houston Rockets source buries the franchise after the Oladipo trade
Rockets source and Houston’s ABC sports anchor Greg Bailey gave a rather candid synopsis of Thursday’s move.
“Alot of people are really confused as to the master plan of the Rockets. You don’t need to study the NBA everyday to understand that the Rockets should have two young cornerstone pieces.
They’ve already got Christian Wood, they should have Caris LeVert. Instead, after the James Harden trade and [Thursday’s] deal sending Victor Oladipo to Miami, the Rockets have Christian Wood and what looks like a bunch of spare parts.
National observers do not understand this trade. The Rockets get Kelly Olynyk and Avery Bradley. My goodness, everybody is really confused again.
What is the long-term plan to get this team back into contention? They have got alot of work to do.”
Bailey refers to the Rockets’ decision to pass on Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen, who were both moved by the Brooklyn Nets during the James Harden trade, in favor of Oladipo, who had made no qualms about the fact that he wanted to go to Miami. The decision to take on Oladipo was viewed as a move that would have helped the team remain competitive post-Harden, with the front office hoping to secure a multi-year commitment from Oladipo himself, in lieu of his contract expiring at the end of the season.
The draft capital will certainly come in handy down the line, as will the team’s ever-changing perception of looking out for players, with Oladipo being the third player to be sent to his preferred destination this season. The Houston Rockets will now have the opportunity to insert Kevin Porter Jr. into the starting lineup, which will help both him and the franchise moving forward.