Grade the Trade: Houston Rockets land star wing in shocking proposal

Could the Houston Rockets trade Amen Thompson for a veteran wing?
Could the Houston Rockets trade Amen Thompson for a veteran wing? / Tim Warner/GettyImages

We don't like to be disagreeable!

That's been a motif here at SpaceCityScoop lately. We don't like to be argumentative - but other publications keep giving us points to argue.

Recently, FadeAwayWorld was the culprit. They just proposed a trade that would send Paul George to the Houston Rockets. Spoiler alert:

We don't like it one bit.

Houston Rockets destroy young core for star wing

Paul George is a very good player. He's an archetypical 3-and-D wing who can create his own shots with high efficiency.

He's also 34. George is also declining. In 2023-24, he posted a Box Plus/Minus (BPM) of 3.2. In 2022-23, he was at 2.8. Otherwise, that was his lowest mark since 2017-18.

Here's another reality about George - his Los Angeles Clippers were eliminated in the first round this year. Sure, Kawhi Leonard was hurt, but George had James Harden by his side.

Theoretically, they'd be the two best players on the Rockets. So, the question becomes this: how much does George raise the Rockets' ceiling once they pair him with Alperen Sengun and Jalen Green?

Houston Rockets should value young players

Did FadeAwayWorld watch Amen Thompson as a rookie?

He flashed boundless potential. Giving up on him after his rookie season only to bring in an aging veteran should be a non-starter for the Rockets.

Meanwhile, Jabari Smith Jr. took a leap this year as well. He's still got a lot of polishing to do, but he's on the right track. Finally, the Rockets could add to their young core with the third overall pick.

Yes, this deal would marginally improve the Rockets in 2024-25. It has them mortaging far too much of their future in the process. Is it even defensible?

Why the Houston Rockets would consider this deal

We don't mean to call FadeAwayWorld the Princes of Darkness. This is a turn of phrase:

We're going to play Devil's Advocate.

There are real questions about both Thompson and Smith Jr. Thompson can't shoot, and his handle is shakey. If he can't improve in at least one - if not both - of those areas, he may never be a primary ball-handler.

Smith Jr. has his own warts. His self-creation is limited. If he's strictly a 3-and-D wing, he should be expendable to the Rockets.

Moreover, this is a weak draft. This is not an especially strong 3rd overall pick. In the end, the Rockets could be giving up three future role players for a star here. George's presence should help enhance the play of Sengun, Green, and Cam Whitmore.

Did we just talk ourselves into this deal?

Houston Rockets can't entertain this deal


There are a myriad of potential outcomes for Thompson and Smith Jr. Some of them involve multiple All-NBA appearances. The Rockets need to explore those options a bit more.

Unless the right star is available, that is. George is not that guy. He's not a top-10 player. Why would the Rockets weaken their collection of young talent and hinder their ability to trade for a player of that caliber down the line?

Acquiring Paul George would move the Rockets a half-step closer to title contention. They'd still be many steps away from that mark. The better option is to hang onto their guys barring an MVP candidate's availability.

That's our argument, and we're sticking to it.

Grade: D