The Houston Rockets traded two second-round picks to dump Kevin Porter Jr. and his contract on Tuesday. They received Victor Oladipo and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl in the transaction. Oladipo is a two-time All-Star who is well past his prime and expected to miss a significant chunk of the season recovering from a patellar tendon injury. The Rockets are already exploring what they can turn his $9.4 million expiring contract into.
Houston vastly improved their roster this summer in hopes of jumping into contention. They owe their 2024 first-round pick to the Thunder with just a top-four protection. The Rockets do not want to give OKC another lottery selection, so their goal is to get back to the playoff for the first time since 2020. There are still moves to make to get there.
What can the Rockets turn Oladipo’s contract into? Jake Fischer shared some fresh rumors on Tuesday evening, and it appears Houston plans to act fast. Teams have to trim their rosters to 15 players before opening night, so plenty of talent could be available. Here are five mock trades to land the Rockets an upgrade.
5. Rockets convince Jazz to part with THT
Fischer noted Houston’s interest in Talen Horton-Tucker, and the 22-year-old has an intriguing skill set. He averaged 10.7 points, 3.8 assists and 3.2 rebounds in 20.2 minutes per game last season.
The 6’4 guard can handle the ball and make plays, but the Jazz want to give Kris Dunn and rookie Keyonte George more chances per Fischer. Utah could look to clear THT’s $11.0 million expiring contract but would want a few seconds in return for taking on Oladipo in a deal that would likely end up something close to this.
The two sides would haggle over the draft picks, but two seconds is fair. The Jazz get some value, and the Rockets avoid heavily damaging their draft capital.
Can Horton-Tucker impact Houston enough to make the deal worth it? He has produced a negative 0.1 value over replacement (VORP) for his career, and the Lakers never trusted him in the playoffs. THT struggles on defense and is a career 28.0 percent 3-point shooter. He is a man without a position in many respects.
The Houston Rockets must target someone more impactful if they plan on making it back to the playoffs this season.