Should the Rockets look to trade these 3 role players?

N.B. Lindberg
Sacramento Kings v Houston Rockets
Sacramento Kings v Houston Rockets / Alex Bierens de Haan/GettyImages
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What could the Rockets get for Mathews, Tate, or Fernando?

Unfortunately, there is little chance that the Rockets could get a first-round pick for any of them. Mathews is just a shooter, Fernando is a big body, and Tate is the anti-Mathews (all he can’t do is shoot). Most teams would prefer to roll with second-round and late first-round picks to fill their rotation needs. Only Tate could realistically secure the Rockets something of value, but he has to come back this season and actually show that he can play. 

Long story short, the Rockets built a roster to lose a ton of games. The three players they have who are in their primes, and thus most attractive to contenders (contenders sound like Leonardo DiCaprio), are all role players. For a losing team, role players are always expendable. They’re there to absorb minutes and hopefully net something in a trade. 

The best way to use a player like Mathews and Fernando is to add them into an Eric Gordon trade as a sweetener. Teams might be hesitant to give up a first-round pick for Gordon, but adding another shooter or center into the mix makes it more palatable. The fact that they’ll be around next year for next to nothing is a nice little bonus. 

Tate could realistically secure a first-round pick, but only from a top-tier contender that knows they’re going to draft after the 20th pick and will be competitive for the next few seasons. That shrinks the list of teams the Rockets would want to do business with, and most contenders have already sent out picks to build their contender. 

The Rockets absolutely should be looking to trade Mathews, Tate, and Fernando, but they have no reason to rush. They’re cheap, under contract for multiple years, and could fill valuable roles if and when the Rockets become competitive again. Why give that up for pennies on the dollar? When you may need to acquire that in only a few short years.

Next. Why the Rockets could be the perfect destination for Trae Young. dark

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