What the Nets' spurning of the Rockets offer says about the Rockets' trade plans

Utah Jazz v Brooklyn Nets
Utah Jazz v Brooklyn Nets / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

By now, it's well-known that the Houston Rockets are pursuing Brooklyn Nets forward Mikal Bridges. The Rockets reportedly were willing to give back several of Brooklyn's picks from the James Harden deal of 2021 in exchange for Bridges but the Nets wouldn't even entertain the idea.

The Nets might as well tell the rest of the league that Bridges is unavailable, as they previously rejected a deal from the Memphis Grizzlies involving four first-round picks. And they feel so strongly about Bridges that they weren't even willing to listen to the Rockets at all.

In other words, whatever the Rockets are willing to part with won't be enough.

Which is a strange stance to have for a player like Bridges, who is good but not good enough to be the number option on a team. And especially for a rebuilding team.

But I digress.

The Rockets' willingness to include the Nets' picks makes one thing clear, however. They're looking for a splash move at the deadline.

The Rockets desperately want to win now.

Which is much different than what's been speculated, as most NBA experts have them predicted to get a role player, such as Alec Burks or Isaiah Stewart. Shelling out the Nets' unused picks would only be worth it if they were bringing in a star.

And there aren't many on the market, aside from Dejounte Murray and Zach LaVine, who the Rockets aren't linked to. But they're going big-game hunting and they're willing to get rid of their best assets in the Nets' picks.

Hell, they're even willing to deal a young player from their core, according to The Athletic's Kelly Iko.

"At its core, rival executives believe it’s evident the Rockets want to bolster their firepower and will do their due diligence to take swings for a star — even if it costs them a blue-chip prospect part of their core six in Şengün, Jalen Green, Jabari Smith Jr., Tari Eason, Amen Thompson, and Cam Whitmore."

Such a move would only be worth it if the Rockets brought in a legitimate superstar. Not someone who makes the All-Star team as an alternate because of an injury to a top-tier star.

But someone who is an All-NBA talent. Which would likely require the team to make a long-term commitment in addition to ridding themselves of their best assets.

In other words, the Rockets are desperate to make win-now moves. And desperation isn't usually a good thing, especially when it comes to making trades.