16 Players the Houston Rockets gave up on way too soon

Houston Rockets, Goran Dragic, Kyle Lowry
Houston Rockets, Goran Dragic, Kyle Lowry / Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
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15. Metta World Peace

World Peace has gone by many names, but he was always a productive player. The 6’7 forward was an All-Star with the Pacers in 2004 and an elite two-way force throughout his prime.

He was traded to the Rockets in 2008 in a five-player deal. Houston was all-in on trying to win a championship with Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady, and they were hoping World Peace would be the piece that pushed them over the top. He averaged 17.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.5 steals in 35.5 minutes per game, but injuries slowed the Rockets, who were bounced in the second round of the playoffs in seven games by the eventual champion Lakers.

World Peace joined the defending champions in free agency the following summer, and he won his first championship in 2010 next to Kobe Bryant in LA. The 6’7 forward was a key role player for the Lakers over the next four seasons. He never produced monster numbers, but World Peace helped his team make the playoffs every year.

The Houston Rockets went into a rebuild after World Peace’s exit. Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady both departed, and the Rockets missed the playoffs for three straight years. Keeping Metta World Peace may have been enough to keep them in the postseason, but that did not happen.