A day after the Dallas Mavericks won the Rajon Rondo sweepstakes, the Houston Rockets acquired wing Corey Brewer from the Minnesota Timberwolves for Troy Daniels and a broken-down washing machine. The Rockets also received Ronny Turiaf, who was then flipped into Alexey Shved, who might actually be competent*. Brewer was involved in several trade rumors linked to the Rockets prior to the three-team deal and it's no surprise that it went down.
*The 6'6 Russian shooting guard posted an impressive 19.6 PER with the Sixers, but then again, who doesn't put up numbers for Philly? The Rockets also cut Francisco Garcia in order to make room on the roster for Shved.
Hello #RedNation !! I'm very happy and grateful to have a chance to play for the Rockets and contend for a Championship!!— Corey Brewer (@CoreyBrewer13) December 20, 2014
Along with Brewer, names like Wilson Chandler, Jeff Green, and Brandon Bass have been previously linked to the Rockets in rumors. Now, it seems likely that the Rockets won't approach another small forward, leaving Chandler and Green out of their future plans.
What's odd to me is that Daryl Morey decided to pull the trigger on Corey Brewer when superior players at the same position (Jeff Green, Wilson Chandler) remain very available via trade. Morey obviously knows what he's doing, so maybe the asking prices for Green and Chandler were too damn high like the rent in 2010.
Sure, Brewer will be a good fit for the Rockets because of his ability to leak out on the fast break and play the passing lanes, but he is a much less refined player than Green and Chandler on both sides of the ball.
These statistics are exclusively from this season. Consider the significant advantage to Jeff Green and Wilson Chandler in almost every major statistical category. Brewer is clearly the least productive of the three.
With that said, Brewer patches up the one apparent hole on the roster: backup wing. In the beginning of the season, before Donatas Motiejunas emerged as a legitimate weapon at power forward, the Rockets were shopping for big men. They still can use a backup center, but Tarik Black has proved that he can play 12-17 minutes behind Superman without hurting the team too much. Black has a -0.2 plus/minus, so he is basically a non-factor.
At full strength, the Rockets will actually have pretty decent big man depth with Howard, Jones, Motiejunas, and Black rounding out the four-man big rotation. Daryl Morey still may target a player like Timofey Mozgov of the Denver Nuggets, but without the two second-round picks, the Rockets are running out of "tradeable" assets.
Although Morey always has a trade up his sleeve, he simply doesn't have much to work with anymore. There is still over $800,000 in trade exceptions (from Troy Daniels) and the Pelicans' protected first round pick, but not much else. Unless the Rockets decide to part ways with Kostas Papanikolaou, whose name must always be copied and pasted into posts, it will be difficult to find any more trades in a stiff market.
Although Morey has a reputation for literally making something out of nothing, it seems plausible that this group of 15 will be more or less be the same in April, when playoffs start.
Note: All statistics are accurate as of Dec. 20, 2014.