Rockets News

5 Veterans the Rockets should target to help the core develop 

N.B. Lindberg
Utah Jazz v Houston Rockets
Utah Jazz v Houston Rockets / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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Mike Conley, Houston Rockets
Utah Jazz v Minnesota Timberwolves / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages

Veteran #2 Mike Conley

One of the reasons the Utah Jazz are 6-3 is that they still have a bunch of competent players on their roster. Mike Conley is not what he used to be, he is 35 and has subjected his body to 16 seasons of NBA basketball, but he's still a productive player and is exactly what the Rockets need right now. 

Conley has shot over 40% from three each of the past three seasons and is currently averaging a career-best 7.1 assists on a near career-low 1.6 turnovers. Not only does his statistical profile fit the Rockets like a glove, but he is also a proven winner. 

Single-game +/- is flat-out dumb, single-season +/- is fine, but 16 seasons of +/- tells you a lot about a player. Mike Conley’s career +/- per 100 possessions is +3.2, and his teams have been +6 when he’s on the court compared to when he sits. It’s unlikely that he’d suddenly turn the Rockets into a net-rating monster, but going from a net rating of -8.6 to -4 would be a massive improvement. 

Fortunately for the Rockets, a simple one-for-one trade of Mike Conley for Eric Gordon works. The Jazz might be motivated to this deal just to get Conley’s deal off the books. Gordon makes about $3 million less than Conley this season, and next season, $14.3 million of Conley’s $24.3 million salary is guaranteed, while none of Gordon’s $20.9 million salary is guaranteed. 

This could be the rare exchange of veterans by rebuilding teams that actually makes sense for both sides. The Jazz save $3 million this season and $14 million next, and the Rockets get a veteran that can help accelerate their own rebuild. 

Next: Veteran #1