Well, ladies and gentlemen, Daryl Morey has yet again given us reason to doubt the words that come out of his mouth. Consequently in doing so he has also given us even more reason (As though any more was needed) to have nothing but faith in the holy son who came to redeem our Rockets and take on the sins of Carrol Dawson. Consider that all the rumblings were a quiet trade deadline for the Rockets. Daryl himself tempered expectations telling fans to expect work in the offseason... But then... Daryl Morey just pulled off a deal that, I believe, will settle him at the top of the list for greatest GMs in the NBA/Rockets organization. In less than a year Daryl Morey has acquired a former 3rd pick franchise player in James Harden, the 5th player from this year's draft at a critical position for this club (PF) in Thomas Robinson, and established a core that will see this team for a minimum of five years going forward. Let's go to school and see just what happened based off the trades today.
First, we have to look at the deals performed today as they occurred. Marcus Morris to Phoenix for a 2nd round draft pick. Not to be content with collecting second round picks that are as good as gold in his hands Morey decided to have a chat with the Sacramento Kings. The result of that call was Thomas Robinson (3.7 million club option in 2014), Francisco Garcia (Club Option in 2013 at 6.14 million), and Tyler Honeycutt (100k guaranteed next season) to Houston for Patrick Patterson, Cole Aldrich, and Toney Douglas.
Marcus Morris was a former 14th pick of the Houston Rockets and was widely declared a dumpster fire heading into this season. He proved he was capable on the floor to warrant some minutes but his play became spotty. To me, Phoenix's involvement here was two fold. First, they clearly enjoy Rockets leftovers. Second, Phoenix is like a concerned pet owner and saw that littermates were separate and needed to reunite them. It only cost them a second round pick to do it so I honestly skew this trade in favor of the Suns. This cleared cap space and gave the Rockets an inconsequential pick that showed mindfulness towards the cap this coming summer. There really is no reason to delve into this deal because the Rockets sent out a bench player for a second round pick and there's no incoming production to analyze for it.
Let's talk about the big trade. Where Morey took the former 14th pick Patrick Patterson along with some fringe castoffs (Cole Aldrich and Toney Douglas) who may or may not have a future in the NBA beyond their current contracts into the fifth pick in the NBA draft, a back up PG/SG, and a pipe cleaner of a SF. The storyline about this whole situation is that the Rockets were actively pursuing the King's pick on draft night and that came up all for naught, apparently Morey doesn't take no for an answer. Sacramento made this deal kicking and screaming the whole way (Per Twitter that the Kings did not want to have to make the deal but it ultimately went through), make no mistake about it. Thomas Robinson's top-5 salary along with Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt had to be moved because the team is in financial slashing mode. Per Adrian Wojnarowski via Twitter the Seattle group looking to purchase the Kings was briefed on the deal. You can't possibly believe that the potential buyer group in Seattle gives its blessing for the deal without knowing that they want to buy low on the Kings and build the franchise once they relocate. I'll catch flack about it because of citing the sale last time but the writing is on the wall, the Kings had to make this fire sale move in order to sell the franchise.
Now, you may ask, how is it a fire sale to move a rookie averaging 5 points and 5 rebounds and only 15 minutes a game? The short answer is that you cannot really assign too much negative attention and press to a player's production in Sacramento. The ownership, the question marks over the club's future, and the volatile concoction of talent on hand in the organization makes you doubt its ability to rear talent, let alone under a team mentality. Thomas Robinson was considered the safe pick in the draft, a 6'10" beast of a man. The Rockets picked up a player with amazing athleticism, a quality all around game, and great rebounding and defensive instincts. Houston, your long-term solution at the four has been solved. One can't help but get excited at the idea that a guy with all the raw talent of Thomas Robinson now has the chance to work with Kevin McHale on his post play. Not only did we solve our power forward situation by removing Morris and Patterson (Placing an impetus on the use of Motiejunas and Jones as back up centers and power forwards) but we received a back up shooting guard for James Harden. Tyler Honeycutt becomes the new human victory cigar for the Rockets as a rail thin 6'8" Shooting guard/Small forward.
It's important to note that the Rockets freed up cap space with this deal for next summer, about 1.2 million as Patrick Harrel covered in his initial write up. What this move does is set the Rockets long term if they decide not to make any further moves. The trade deadline is set to hit at 3:00 PM EST. There are some questions as to whether or not Robinson gets flipped for Josh Smith but with any luck we won't see that. The Rockets are embroiled in the playoff hunt but happily enough they just got a guy who I think will be better than Josh Smith and plays a similar game with the addition of a mid-range game. You don't move that, on a cheaper deal, just to downgrade what's coming to the table. Further, the Rockets just cleared out the bloat at the power forward position, acquired legitimate depth and scoring on the second unit via Francisco Garcia, and improved their lot to begin adding depth players in the off season.
Does this mean the Rockets will take a swing at a guy like Dwight Howard? Possibly but it would relegate Asik to a back up center role again and do we really want that? I think what Houston did today was address all their issues, provide a long term solution at the PF for all the things that were needed, got an integral piece of an even younger core, preserved cap space this summer to fill depth or retain their flexibility, and even (as of writing this) dropped the Oklahoma City Thunder while shorthanded. I want to leave you with this lineup going forward so that you're drooling as hard as I am:
Jeremy Lin/James Harden/Chandler Parsons/Thomas Robinson/Omer Asik.
My friends, I'm wholly convinced this lineup in two to three years time can see a championship here in Houston. I will stake my non-existent reputation at this site on it.