According to numerous reports, the Houston Rockets have decided to trade Marcus Morris and are holding him out of tonight's game as they weigh two deals for the second year power forward. With that, it appears that the first domino of the trade deadline has fallen.
Here's Marc Stein's report on the situation:
Word is Rockets have decided to trade Marcus Morris and deciding between two deals— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 21, 2013
Well, here we go. At this moment, the return and the details of the two deals discussed haven't been broken, but when they are, we'll let you know.
What's interesting about this reported deal is that it likely clears a spot for Terrence Jones or Donatas Motiejunas to enter the rotation and get some serious minutes at the power forward spot. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported yesterday that the Rockets were looking to move Terrence Jones for a draft pick, but this trade likely makes a move like that a lot less likely.
The fact is that Morris was a nice stretch four who worked well in the offense but was not ever going to be much more than replacement level. He was a hard worker and definitely grew in his second season, but losing him is not going to do much to hurt the Rockets moving forward. With four seemingly qualified players at one spot, it made sense to trim a bit of fat and get an asset in return.
As we noted on twitter today, the Rockets' roster is full at 15 and they'd have to waive or trade a player if they were to take on salary in the form of a Richard Hamilton-like dump at the deadline. Clearing that spot ahead of time makes a lot of sense and gives Morey a much easier job at the trade deadline.
Finally, making this deal opens up some $2 million that Morris would be owed in 2013-14 that the Rockets can now spend on free agency. Given that the Rockets would need to make some minor changes to get far enough under the cap to make a max offer, getting the space cleared ahead of time could pay dividends if the Rockets get much for Morris.
Regardless, it's time to get strapped in and enjoy the ride that is the NBA Trade Deadline. This is just the beginning.