With contenders circling the Jazz’s veterans like sharks, it’s incredibly surprising Bogdanovic found his way to Detroit and even more surprising that a first-round pick wasn’t a part of the equation. If I were grading this trade, I’d give both sides an F, but that’s exactly why it’s great news for the Houston Rockets.
2 reasons why the Pistons-Jazz trade is great news for the Rockets
1. The race to the bottom just got easier
Depending on your sensibilities, this part might not be good news, but the Rockets' race to the bottom just got a whole lot easier. Bojan Bogdanovic is a lethal scorer. Over the past four seasons, Bogdanovic has played 285 games and averaged 18.3 points per game on 51% shooting on twos and 40.3% from three. The Pistons, one of the five worst teams last season, just got him to help Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey.
On the other side of the trade, the Utah Jazz may have lost Bogdanovic, but they didn’t completely hit the tank button on this trade. Kelly Olynyk isn’t as lethal as Bogdanovic, but as Rockets fans know, when he’s hot, he can carry an offense.
The Jazz are going to be bad, but it was expected they would move Bogdanovic for picks, not another NBA veteran. As currently constructed, the Jazz are going to be bad, but not abysmal. They have Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, Jarred Vanderbilt, Kelly Olynyk, and for the time being, Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson. That’s a bad roster, but not 15 wins bad.
The Rockets likely have the worst roster in the NBA heading into the 2022-23 season and the loaded 2023 draft. The smoothed lottery odds make being the worst team less valuable, but I’d rather have the best odds to get Victor Wembanyama than not.
2. The contenders targeting Bogdanovic will turn to Eric Gordon
Eric Gordon has remained a Rocket, but not over a lack of trying. The sharpshooter has been in the rumor mill for years. Bogdanovic is a better player than Gordon at this point, he is bigger and a better scorer, but with him off the board, contenders should turn their attention to Gordon.
The pair have nearly identical salaries, Bogdanovic $19.5 million and Gordon $19.56 million, so any trade package designed to get Bogdanovic should work when targeting Gordon. While Bogdanovic is on an expiring contract, Gordon is functionally as well, as his $20.9 million salary for 2023-24 is non-guaranteed.
The losers in the Bogdanovic sweepstakes haven’t lost out if they’re looking for a veteran floor spacer with some on-ball abilities. The Rockets have been patient with Gordon, and their patience may have just paid off.