Houston Rockets: 3 reasons letting Sterling Brown go was a mistake

N.B. Lindberg
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Sterling Brown, Houston Rockets
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Houston Rockets: reason #2 letting Sterling Brown go was a mistake: Value

Sterling Brown is set to make $6.2 million over the next two seasons. That's less than many players on rookie contracts. The Mavericks landed themselves a bargain and the Rockets missed out. 

Rebuilding teams need to target players who have trade value and Sterling Brown for $3.1 million a season is a great trade chip. There are two inescapable truths of the modern NBA. First, contenders seldom have cap space. Second, contenders always need more perimeter defense and shooting. 

Sterling Brown checks all of those boxes. If the Rockets had kept him, they could have pried a protected first-round pick from someone at the trade deadline or in the offseason. While heavily protected first-round picks don't seem valuable, when stacked together they can land a nice return. 

Related. Top-8 Rockets ranked by trade value. dark

The Rockets were able to draft Alperun Sengun with the 16th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft by sending the Oklahoma City Thunder two highly protected picks that they landed in trades. Even if the Rockets never move Brown for more assets, at $3.1 million a season he'd hardly cost the team anything. 

The Rockets might have had to pay a little extra to keep Brown in a losing situation but a two-year, $8 million contract still would have been a good deal. The Rockets could have kept Brown in Houston on a deal that would have had value around the league and missing out on that opportunity was a big mistake.