Instant reaction, grades for Rockets' unexpected Victor Oladipo trade

Memphis Grizzlies v Atlanta Hawks
Memphis Grizzlies v Atlanta Hawks / Paras Griffin/GettyImages

The worst-kept secret around the league was the fact that the Houston Rockets were looking for a defensive-minded big man. The Jock Landale experiment hasn't gone as well as the Rockets would've hoped and the Rockets had been actively seeking to change that.

We'd heard names like Robert Williams, Daniel Gafford, and Clint Capela. On Thursday, the Rockets ended all speculation and finally made the move to get their guy. For next season, presumably.

Steven Adams is injured for the rest of the 2023-24 season, so the Rockets will still need to add another big man. In other words, this is the same proposition the Rockets would've been in if they would've traded for Williams.

I'd expect the Rockets to turn to the buyout market for that, since they've already used Oladipo's $9.5 million expiring salary.

Why did the Rockets trade for Steven Adams?

Adams is a terrific defensive-minded center, who is also an elite rebounder, when healthy.

But he's 30-years-old and coming off a major knee injury. He's not guaranteed to return to form.

If he doesn't, he'd present trade ballast down the road ($12.6 million), as his contract expires next season. In other words, he'd be in Oladipo's exact situation one year from now.

With that being said, trading three second-round picks to add Adams seems quite steep. But it seems like this was the Rockets' potential offer for Williams and Portand didn't think it was enough value for the 27-year-old Williams.

Houston Rockets trade grade: B-

For the Grizzlies, this makes a ton of sense. For one, Oladipo falls off the books at the end of the season.

In addition, they added three second-round picks, which will surely be used to bolster their roster for 2024-25, as this season is already a sunk year. They'd be able to use these second-round picks to surround Desmond Bane, Ja Morant, and Jaren Jackson Jr. with another high-level contributor.

Memphis Grizzlies trade grade: A