Amidst all of the rumors that are bound to swirl around the Rockets in the next two weeks leading up to the February 24th trade deadline -- no doubt thanks to the media's rather unnecessary propensity to report any one of Daryl Morey's countless inquires into opposing rosters -- it's best if we keep a level head about all of this trade deadline talk and take note of the following pointers before doing anything else:
1. The Rockets will probably end up surprising us. Nobody saw Ron Artest coming. Everyone thought Kevin Martin was untouchable in Sacramento. Jordan Hill blindsided everyone and so did Courtney Lee. The only pattern in Morey's moves is that, for whatever reason, he continues to swing deals with either current or former Sacramento Kings. That's the only empirical data you'll find on the subject.
2. The Rockets are interested in a star player. We've been aware of this for about a year now.
3. The Rockets are interested in a starting center, but would rather deal for a younger player with upside rather than an established starter. Nene rumors have swirled around these parts since the beginning of the season. DeAndre Jordan would make sense, as would a few other possible names. I'm not inclined to support a deal for Omer Asik, and if you think Morey is about to give up Lee for a decent backup at best, you're mistaken. Remember the Martin-for-Gortat rumors? It was ORLANDO who made the offer, yet it was initially reported as if the two sides had mutually agreed to an offer before eventually backing down. Read into these rumors with some common sense.
4. I hope we find a taker for Aaron Brooks. The Rockets have denied that Brooks is available for trade, but it wouldn't make much sense to hold onto him past the deadline. Given Mike Conley's outrageous deal earlier this season, Brooks is going to be asking for a lot of money this summer and I'm not sure he's worth the move. The Rockets need to place their collective focus on getting bigger, which means not blowing potentially $40-$50 million on Brooks. I've seen enough from Kyle Lowry to place faith in him as a legitimate starter, and it's clear that Brooks just can't come off the bench.
It's no tag on Brooks as a player: this just may not be the right situation for him anymore, and for the Rockets to wait until this summer to recognize this and lose Brooks for nothing would be a colossal mistake. This, primarily, is why I have strong doubts that the Rockets are keeping his name out of talks. They need to get something in return for him, just as they cashed in on Carl Landry at the perfect time.
Also, I thought about this guy as a potential look at center. He's raw and has underperformed thus far, but I think a lot of that has to do with his apparent Achilles injury. At the end of the day, he is a legitimate center prospect that the Rockets would no doubt love to land at some point, should he not further slip into oblivion.
Late Addendum: Remember, it takes two (or more) teams to make a deal. We may have specific ideas for what the Rockets need, but other teams need to be impressed with what Houston has to offer. And, on top of that, they have to be willing to trade in the first place. It's always more complicated than it seems.