The 2012 trade deadline came and went, as it has so often recently, without a definitive move from the Houston Rockets. Houston has passed yet another deadline by shuffling around pieces for "solid players" without actually making a definitive statement about what the franchise is doing.
Rumors swirled about the Rockets being active, Daryl Morey abandoning the pursuit of Andrew Bogut for another trade, and questions abound about what the Rockets would do. As the clock wound down the Rockets offloaded some players who wouldn’t be on the team next year anyway for Marcus Camby and Derek Fisher. Fisher is most likely going to be bought out and Camby is a bench addition for the Rockets. After the jump I’ll evaluate each trade and briefly discuss this team moving forward and give you my opinion.
Marcus Camby for Hasheem Thabeet, Jonny Flynn, and a 2012 Minnesota’s Second Round Pick (Acquired in the Jonny Flynn Trade)
The Rockets picked up a back up Center who was considering retirement for years and whose relevance has faded away over the years. Camby still contributes well for a background at about 4 points, 9 boards, and 1 block per game. That’s not bad for your back up Center. We gave up two guys who weren’t seeing the floor without the team being crippled. Houston parlayed non-factors into a back up Center, which should be applauded.
Derek Fisher and the Maverick’s 1st Round Pick for Jordan Hill
Houston acquired a point guard who is prime for the buyout and on the tail end of his career anyhow. The 1st round pick is top 20 protected until 2018 so as it stands the Rockets will at best pick up 21 or later. If the Mavericks organization keeps on with business as it usually has that pick will be available sooner rather than later, but late first round picks don’t tend to change the franchise, as we have seen. The Rockets replaced Jordan Hill as the back up Center in the Camby trade, so some flexibility was available.
The Rockets didn’t impede their cap situation, especially considering Fisher’s likely buyout but they did fail to make anything definitive. We spent another trade deadline hoping to swing for the fences and with some pieces that had to be moved, and some trades available that could have helped draw some names here and the front office opted in for the bandage approach again. Houston is fighting for to hold on to the 9th spot with a malcontent in Kevin Martin still on the roster. Luis Scola’s production is still on the decline with a contract that only grows as each year goes by.
I would like to agree with Tom and call these moves savvy but I can’t bring myself to praise the continued mediocrity of this team. As it stands, our draft pick this year if we get to the playoffs heads over to New Jersey, we have to hope New York misses out on the playoffs to get their pick (Barring a top 5 selection), and other than that we’re stuck having to hope that second round draft pick purchases can buoy this team into success. I am doubtful of this approach to say the least. The Rockets are putting all of their eggs in the free agency basket this year without actually having a reason for a free agent to come to this franchise. We have no centerpiece and we want someone to be that centerpiece. Unfortunately those franchise centerpieces can go to much sexier cities or go places where they have a much better chance to win a championship. This team’s lack of definitive action at the trade deadline certainly isn’t going to be winning any free agents confidence in this franchise. Who wants to look at a team without a realistic shot at a title to say "Hey, this team’s front office does solid stuff, they could build around me." I want the Mark Cuban owner, the guy who will make huge moves and burn money if it means there’s attention and there’s improvement. Instead we’re shuffling chairs on the titanic and removing our first round picks left and right.
I’m alarmed by the fact that the Rockets were in discussions to get Andrew Bogut, injury risk or not he’s comparable in notability to Kyle Lowry AND the Marcus Camby trade would still have been there. The acquisition of Stephen Jackson would have made it arguably easier to deal with shipping out Kevin Martin if need be. At the end of the day I am upset that my Houston Rockets, a team with definite needs, failed to address them, and was overshadowed by my Buffalo Bills. If anything the Rockets have less a history of bumbling things and getting snubbed than Buffalo but that front office isn’t shuffling chairs. They took a direction, found a way to accelerate the process, and have stuck to it. Yes, this is my obligatory, WE GOT MARIO bit.
The Rockets? Rebuild and compete! The 7th or 8th seed is great! Maybe our first round exit will attract Dwight Howard! No, it won’t. Dwight Howard will go somewhere where he can win a title with established players. We will continue to draft in the late 1st or buy 2nd round picks and pray to God there’s a Michael Redd or (young) Rashard Lewis situation in there somewhere so we stop shooting ourselves in the foot. There is a salary floor in the NBA that is higher than it used to be. The Rockets cap space situation and, let’s be honest, likely snub in the offseason is going to force Les Alexander to overpay middling talent to meet the floor. Then we’re right back on this cycle of mediocrity after getting off for a brief pause to check out the good looking ladies in the gym.