I love this picture. Okay, on to business.
Dave Hardisty, founder of Houston Rockets message board Clutchfans.net, writing in his annual season recap, mentions Minnesota Timberwolves forward/center Al Jefferson as a potential offseason trade target for the Houston Rockets.
While not Bosh, Jefferson would be an enticing addition. While the injury history is frightening, I have for some time considered Al to be the most offensively gifted center in basketball. The 25-year-old would immediately become option A in the Houston offense.
However, what I find most interesting was that Big Al has three years remaining on his contract, the same number as Kevin Martin. With the window on Yao Ming's prime closing, the Houston Rockets could set themselves up with a timely escape route in 2013.
I think we might have overlooked this one. Jefferson has always been a favorite of mine as well, and I think he would add a rare dose of flexibility to our team. He's not a natural power forward, but he is quick enough to play the position. In that regard, perhaps the Rockets could pair Jefferson with Yao in the starting lineup, and then rotate Big Al in at center with Jordan Hill or Luis Scola coming off the bench, depending on who we would keep.
As long as we're talking about injury histories, let's not forget how closely Jefferson falls next to Chris Bosh on the scale. Each has only played in one full season, and while Jefferson has missed more games per season in his career, he's coming off a 76-game year. I'd like to think that with all of the Rockets' season-killing injuries in the past that health is a factor when it comes to making additions, but there are only a handful of good-to-great players out there that don't miss 5-10 games a year due to injury.
Feel free to banter on in the comments, but just remember:
A) Al Jefferson would be cheaper than Chris Bosh.
B) His contract expires the same year that Martin's does, which, as Rahat points out, would give us a pathway towards rebuilding if we wished to do so.
C) Picture a Daryl Morey / David Kahn battle. Without laughing.