February 29, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Houston Rockets point guard Goran Dragic (3) dribbles up court during the first half against the Utah Jazz at Energy Solutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE
Nobody works the trade deadline harder than the Houston Rockets and this year shouldn't be any different. Houston is among many teams vying to somehow acquire Dwight Howard, but as the deadline nears, I find that scenario to be fairly unlikely. As such, here are some other random, unsubstantiated ideas for what I think could happen today:
1) Start with the free agents
Goran Dragic and Courtney Lee will both be free agents this Summer, so they're obviously on the chopping block if a good offer comes up. The difference between the two, however, is that Dragic is unrestricted, and that makes him by far the most likely to go.
To me, what the Rockets decide to do with Dragic will determine the future course of this season. If they keep him, their playoff hopes will still be intact. If they trade him (with Kyle Lowry still out of action), it suddenly becomes the Jonny Flynn show, and we all know that's enough to send a team spiraling downward, even if it's just for a few weeks.
Here's the curious thing about Dragic: If Morey trades him, he will be able to fetch some sort of return for a player who could easily walk away in the offseason. Dragic has constantly said how much he likes playing with this team, but looking at his numbers as a starter, he may want to test the market to see how many teams would give him a shot at a starting gig. We'll have to see how much Morey wants to risk losing a good player for free.
2) The 09ers, for draft picks
We've heard rumblings about the Rockets potentially sending Jonny Flynn to the Cavaliers in exchange for a first-rounder from the Lakers. I can't fathom that ever playing out (at least with those limitations), but I'd bet a pretty penny Morey will be trying to get first or second rounders for guys like Jordan Hill, Chase Budinger and Terrence Williams. I think Hill and Budinger are the most likely to draw a pick from interested suitors, and right on cue, Hill played a great game against Charlotte on Wednesday night. It's unlikely, but we know Daryl will be trying his damnedest.
3) The Kevin Martin situation
As much as many of us would like to trade Kevin Martin, the market for him can't be very good at this point. Does Morey hold onto his grumpy two-guard and hope for a rebirth, or does he ship him out now before things get potentially worse? I have a feeling KevMart will remain a Rocket through the deadline, and I'm not exactly thrilled about the prospect.
4) Is anyone else on the market?
Figure on Kyle Lowry staying put. Same goes for Patrick Patterson and Chandler Parsons, though in the past we have seen Morey sell high on good, young players. As for Luis Scola? Like the Martin situation, I'm not sure what his market is, and his contract especially hurts his value. But unlike Martin, Scola's productivity has increased since the All-Star break and teams could bank on him to keep at it for another year or two. Again, it all depends on the returns. I don't think Morey would trade someone like Scola just to trade him. Not this early in his contract.
That's all on a whim. We'll see what happens today. Houston may not make a huge trade, but I think they'll make a small move or two. There are too many youthful, movable contracts on this roster to just sit back and do nothing.