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Rockets Trade Rumors: Wallace On Houston's Radar?

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When Adrian Wojnarowski talks, people listen. And then they start talking as if Moses has just announced the eleventh commandment. In this case, we'll oblige the masses:

Charlotte's active in talks to move Gerald Wallace and/or Stephen Jackson, league execs say. Houston, Portland, others w/ eye on Wallace.

Stephen Jackson won't land in Houston. That might be the only guarantee I can offer as this week rolls along. But Wallace? There's a legitimate possibility, sure. Would I approve of such a trade? Depends.

I think we're all going to be pretty disappointed by the results from this deadline. That doesn't mean that the Rockets will fail to strike any particular sort of deal and move a few assets in order to upgrade the roster. Pending those involved, a trade for Gerald Wallace would certainly improve the Rockets' chances of making the playoffs and would add a much-needed defensive stopper to pair with Courtney Lee or Shane Battier in crunch time, not to mention that we'd finally have a legitimate two-way player outside of Kyle Lowry. These are all good things, at least for those with fair expectations.

Unless a giant whale has been lazily lying upon the best-kept secret in NBA trade deadline history, the Rockets won't be emerging from the deadline with the star player that they've desperately pined for. Wallace does not fit the description of star whatsoever, and by all accounts his career is slowly trending downwards, at least on the offensive end. We might be sick of the clever, low-risk moves -- and we certainly have a right to be, given the fact that most anybody could place us second to Portland in the "Fanbase Whose Patience Has Been Unfairly Tried The Most" rankings -- but this type of trade may be our best option at this point. 

What bugs me the most about a potential Wallace trade? Easy: It's the fact that Wallace will turn 30 in a little over a year. Suddenly, trading a young talent in Terrence Williams becomes much tougher, as does trading a fellow youngster in Aaron Brooks. To note, Charlotte probably isn't in the market for a point guard, but Morey has been known to pull a third team into discussions in order to get what he wants. In any case, youth is what the Rockets should be gunning for. The fact that they need a young, plus-talent center (the most coveted position of any in this day and age) puts them in a tough spot, so to give up youngsters for Wallace would certainly put a large dent into this line of thinking.

In Williams' case, I'm not as sold on his star power as some are, but I do think jettisoning him to Charlotte would set a bad precedent and would certainly form a step towards the Houston Astros Philosophy Of Stupidly Trading For Old Guys. We haven't given Williams any sort of chance to prove himself - ideally, I'd like to see what he can really bring to the table.

The only conceivable deal for Wallace that I could envision would be one involving Brooks, so long as the Rockets conclude that they do not wish to re-sign him during the offseason and that Wallace presents the most talent that the team could retrieve in a trade. On the surface, this deal is a little far-fetched given the many obstacles that lie in its way, but from the Rockets' standpoint, it would be the most logical if somehow pulled off.

Lastly, we need to remind ourselves of our special disclaimer: Whenever an above-average talent becomes "available" via reports, the Rockets are going to make an inquiry. Gerald Wallace may or may not be on Houston's radar in actuality, but that won't prevent them from talking with the Bobcats should MJ and Co. make a compelling offer that fits Houston's needs. No harm in talking: that's Houston's philosophy.

NOTE: Thanks to BD34 for reminding me in the comments: Yao would almost certainly going to be involved in a deal for Wallace. As BD notes, they need savings first and foremost. I don't think they'll move Wallace simply for the sake of saving cash -- hence, Brooks' involvement -- but it's chief among their concerns.