Grading the Rockets' free agency spending spree

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Trade Departures: D

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Along with those being added to the squad, there are a few players who needed to be sent away in order to clear up space on the bench and in the cap.

Kenyon Martin Jr.: C

KJ has been one of the most fun players on this roster. However, the writing was on the wall with the rise of Tari Eason and Jabari Smith Jr. by the end of the 2022-2023 season, along with Cam Whitmore falling to the Rockets with the 20th pick.

Martin is a valuable player but there is no longer a place for him on this team. It was the right thing for Houston to do by KJ to send him to a competitive team in his hometown where he'll find a role very quickly.

The only gripe here is that waiting until you had to trade Martin very likely lowered his value to such a level that the Rockets had to take just about any offer that could be deemed fair. Passing grade, but could have been much better in theory. KJ will be sorely missed as one of the first pieces in this rebuild.

Washington and Garuba: F

Perhaps the most shocking of all these moves for Rockets fans was the shipping off of 2021 and 2022 first-round picks, Tyty Washington and Usman Garuba, to Atlanta along with two second-round picks in exchange for the draft rights of 2017 pick Alpha Kaba.

Rockets fans spent what felt like an eternity waiting to learn what the next domino to this move was, only to see reports that it was a salary dump to make room for Brook Lopez, who initially agreed to a deal with Houston before reneging and agreeing to return to the Bucks. After Lopez made his decision, the Rockets seemed to have decided to honor their initial agreement.

No matter what you believe about integrity and handshake deals, the Rockets are out of four potentially valuable assets for the rights to a player who has yet to step foot in the NBA in any capacity. Washington and Garuba may not have retrieved much value in return, but it would be shocking if the Rockets weren't able to at least get a future second-round pick for each of them instead of sending both of them away with two attached.

It's a terrible deal that's accomplished almost nothing as it currently stands.

Overall Grade: B

All in all, some very production additions for Houston. Each move added a role player and depth around a cast of young players that will hopefully catapult this team into contention once they reach their full potential. Fans should expect this team to be well on its way to achieving its phase two goal of returning to the playoffs sooner rather than later.