The Houston Rockets have traded Garrison Mathews and Bruno Fernando to the Atlanta Hawks for Justin Holiday, Frank Kaminsky, and two second-round picks. The second-round picks are the Oklahoma City Thunder's 2024 and 2025 picks, years when the Thunder will either own or hold swap rights for the Rockets' first-round pick.
The Hawks' side of the trade was financially motivated. Holiday and Kaminsky will earn a combined $8.75 million this season, compared to Mathews and Fernando's combined price tag of $4.71 million. The trade sees the Hawks duck under the luxury tax threshold, thus saving them millions of dollars.
To buy the Rockets' cooperation, the Hawks had to part with two second-round picks. The Oklahoma City Thunder project to be a competitive team in 2024 and 2025, but it's unlikely they'll be a true contender. The picks should fall around the 45th overall pick.
According to reports, the deal will open up more minutes for Usman Garuba and Josh Christopher. The two second-year players are projected to take on a heavier minutes load in the absence of Mathews and Fernando. Garuba has been excellent defensively this season, and Christopher has shown promising flashes recently after rarely being featured in the first half of the season.
Kaminsky and Holiday are expiring contracts, so their arrival won't hamper the Rockets' future cap space. Fernando and Mathews were under contract for multiple seasons after this, but neither was owed substantial guaranteed money.
The Hawks saved some money and flipped two expiring bench pieces for two bench pieces under contract for multiple seasons at a low cost, while the Rockets opened up a small amount of cap space in 2023 and beyond and landed two second-round picks.