Another year, another quiet, clever trade deadline from the Houston Rockets. What else were you expecting? Deron Williams? Dwight Howard? You must be out of your mind. This was a solid, safe deadline from Daryl Morey and the Rockets.
To recap, here's exactly what Houston got and gave up Thursday afternoon:
Trade 1: Houston Rockets & Portland Trail Blazers
Rockets get: C Marcus Camby
Rockets gave up: C Hasheem Thabeet, G Jonny Flynn, 2012 conditional second round pick
Trade 2: Houston Rockets & Los Angeles Lakers
Rockets get: G Derek Fisher, 1st round pick (from the Mavericks)*
Rockets gave up: F Jordan Hill
*The Mavericks pick is very interesting. I suggest you go to this thread at ClutchFans, where user Carl Herrera gives a nice explanation. In short, the pick is top-20 protected for five years. If the Mavericks finish with a better record than twenty teams in the league this year, Houston gets the pick for this year's draft. If not, Dallas keeps it and next year's first rounder becomes eligible for the same rule. Dallas is currently projected to pick 16th in the upcoming draft.
We'll go into more depth with these two trades later, but for now, I like both deals. The Rockets knew that if they got anything back for impending free agents Jordan Hill, Jonny Flynn and Hasheem Thabeet, that'd be a victory in itself. Not only did Houston pick up a first rounder for Hill — they also added a temporary solution at backup point guard while Kyle Lowry heals up.
(Quick note about Derek Fisher: Expect Houston to buy out his contract as soon as Lowry returns. Statistically, Fisher has consistently ranked among the league's worst point guards over the last few years. To me, the Lakers kept him around out of respect and knew that he'd gladly defer to Kobe and others. He's a smart, savvy player, but he can get burned defensively and isn't the shooter he used to be. That said, Houston needed someone back up Dragic after trading Flynn, and the Rockets found a super-short placeholder.
Also, Luis Scola might give Fisher a vicious elbow to the face upon his initial locker room entrance. And from there, they'll probably shake hands and move on. But that elbow needs to happen. Perhaps even a People's Elbow.)
In addition to dropping one 09er, Morey swung a winner by selling Jonny Flynn and Hasheem Thabeet's expiring deals to Portland in exchange for aging center Marcus Camby. They also gave up a conditional second round pick, but as Kelly Dwyer notes in the previous link, those rarely materialize.
Camby isn't near the player he used to be, but he's an all-world rebounder and shot-blocker. The Rockets had to find some rebounding help if they wanted to compete, and they got a great backup in Camby, who apparently wanted to go to Houston if he was going to be traded.
Who Stays, And What Happens Next
Kevin Martin, Courtney Lee, Terrence Williams and, most importantly, Goran Dragic remain Rockets. Nothing about that is surprising, with the exception of Dragic's case. By keeping Dragic, the Rockets are rolling the dice that he'll want to return as an unrestricted free agent. At the same time, it green-lighted the decision to acquire Camby for cheap and finalized Houston's expectation to make a legitimate playoff run.
It's the right call, at least in my mind. With the news that Portland is effectively calling it quits, the road to the postseason only gets easier. And keep in mind, entering this deadline, Houston wasn't expected to make any more noise than what you've witnessed. What matters most, by far, is what they do this Summer.
We'll have more analysis, but all in all, we saw a nice pair of carefree additions to the Rockets. Neither will harm the long-term future. All the Rockets did was improve this year's team in its most desperate areas (at least those they could afford to shore up), and by doing so without giving up any players of note, I can't think of any reason to find fault.
Good day, Mr. Morey. Not a great day, but a good day. And there is nothing wrong with that.