3 Rockets at risk of being traded this summer

Golden State Warriors v Houston Rockets
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2. Steven Adams

The Rockets surprised many when they traded for Steven Adams, as he was ruled out for the season before the season kicked off. Granted, the Rockets have long needed a defensive-minded rim-protecting big, which is why they targeted Brook Lopez from the Milwaukee Bucks. 

Truthfully, the Rockets have needed this skillset since they traded Clint Capela in 2020. Although Usman Garuba was supposed to check this box, but was also deemed incapable of taking on a larger role. 

Adams is on the wrong side of 30 and is also coming off a major injury to his lower extremities. It's not a guarantee that he'd be the same player after 30, even if he didn't have the injury. 

It's especially less of a guarantee after the knee injury. 

It's entirely plausible that the Rockets made the Adams trade simply to preserve his $12.5 million salary slot. Especially when you trace the asset trail that was used to get the former Memphis Grizzlies center.

The Rockets initially moved Kevin Porter Jr. to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Victor Oladipo, as a way of keeping Porter's $16.5 million salary slot. Losing that would hinder the team significantly, especially as it pertains to roster construction.

Oladipo was on an expiring, so the Rockets would've also lost his salary in the offseason if they didn't move him for longer-term salary. Adams helps the team essentially kick the can down the road another year, meaning his salary will also be lost if he's not dealt before the conclusion of the 2024-25 season.

Adams could be most valuable for the Rockets as salary filler this summer and may never touch the court for the franchise.