With the NBA trade season in swing and the rumor winds already kicked into high gear, many of which involve the Rockets, we wanted to take a look at some of the players potentially available and how they would fit in Houston.
Our own Danny Emerson broke down last week all the reasons this would be a bad idea for the Rockets. Yet the Morris rumors just won't go away. Morris has been bad this season, but he has talent. Sometimes all a player needs is a change of scenery, and on the surface, Morris' offensive game looks like a good fit for the Rockets' system.
He's never been a great defender, but the Rockets would likely be looking towards Morris as a scorer off the bench, and he's certainly never been afraid to shoot. Complicating matters is Morris' off-the-court problems, including a pending trial for felony assault and a two-game suspension for throwing a towel at his head coach.
Houston would likely be giving up Terrence Jones in this deal, so it's hard to discern if they'd be actually getting better, but at least they wouldn't lose Jones for nothing at season's end, as expected.
Whiteside's also been a name that's been linked to the Rockets this season, if only in speculation by Chris Sheridan. On the surface, it makes sense.
If Dwight Howard does indeed want out of Houston — and Sheridan reiterated his report as "100 percent on the money" just two days ago, the Rockets will definitely be in the market for a center.
Whiteside is just 26, he's healthy, and he brings a lot of the same traits Howard does. He's a premier shot blocker — his current average of 4.0 per game is a full block better than anything Howard has ever done — a fine rebounder, and he's currently shooting 77.8 percent on the pick and roll.
But Whiteside is also slated to be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and he's likely to seek a max contract in the $90 million range, and despite the pending cap increase, there are some serious questions whether Whiteside is worth that kind of cheddar.
Despite the all the blocks, his individual defense hasn't been spectacular, as the Heat have actually allowed more points per 100 possessions with him on the floor, and he also doesn't have much of a varied offensive repertoire. His 12.7 points per game this year is the highest of his career, and it's difficult to imagine the Rockets taking on that kind of salary for a player with flaws on both ends of the court.
Whiteside's situation bears watching, but keep this one squarely in the "pure speculation" camp for now.
When a name like Dwight Howard is potentially on the trade market, all types of possible scenarios tend to be floated around in the media, and Lopez is another name that's been tossed out there, though this too, like the situation with Whiteside, is based on pure speculation and fit.
With Sheridan still claiming that Dwight, "doesn't like playing with James Harden, and that's a fact," the buzzards from every corner soon circle overhead, and with Lopez reputed to be available via trade for several seasons now, it was only a matter of time before these two were linked together.
Lopez is adept scorer, averaging 18 points per game for his career, and good shot blocker, swatting 1.8 per game, but he's also a terrible rebounder for a legit 7-footer, as he's pulled in an average of just 7.4 for his career.
He's also not a great defender, as he's only had a positive defensive plus-minus in four out of his eight professional seasons.
The Rockets could certainly use his ability to put the ball in the basket to help ease the burden on Harden, but Lopez does nothing to help the Rockets on defense and in rebounding, two areas they have struggled mightily this season (18th in total rebounding and 27th in points against).
He'd be an interesting fit on the Rockets, mainly for his offense, but despite the speculation, this just doesn't seem like a Morey-esque move. Like Whiteside, Lopez is a flawed and very highly paid ($22 million per year) player.
Now we're getting somewhere.
And while Anderson has been tied to numerous teams, ESPN's Mark Stein recently reported that the Pelicans are merely in a "listening phase" for Anderson at this point, though he would be a fantastic fit on the Rockets.
Anderson is a career 38 percent shooter from deep and takes over 5 threes per game. He's one of the league's premiere stretch fours and would be ideal around Harden and Howard. Like Lopez, he does struggle as a defender, but he'd be coming to Houston as the likely top scorer behind Harden and would automatically become the team's best shooter (sorry, Marcus Thornton).
Anderson will be a free agent at season's end, and it's assumed that he will looking for, and potentially even receive, a max deal. I'm not sure if the Rockets view him as a max player, as he's not particularly diverse in anything, even his scoring.
But there's no denying what Anderson is good at should create beautiful music in Moreyball. And the stretch four is one of the hottest commodities in sports, so the demand for Anderson's services will likely be high.
All things for the Rockets to consider when deciding whether or not to make a trade bid for Anderson's services.
Horford's another name that's been linked to several teams, Houston included, and while the Rockets would likely be giving up Dwight Howard in any potential trade discussions with the Hawks, Horford's versatility would make him a major asset capable of working in tandem with any other Houston front court combination.
Horford's a good shot blocker (1.2 per game for his career), a fine scorer (14.2 career points per game) and a great defender (he's been a positive defensive player every year of his career), and though his rebounding has tapered off over the last several seasons, he still averages 9.0 boards per game for his career.
Rick Kamla of NBATV even mentioned on local Atlanta radio that a trade of Horford, Shelvin Mack, and Mike Scott for Dwight Howard and Jason Terry was imminent. Although, that's been refuted by other league sources who have recently described Horford as "untouchable" and that the Hawks are fully prepared to offer him a max deal in July.
There's no doubting a deal involving Horford and Howard would be a blockbuster, but it sounds, much like the Rockets, the direction the Hawks want to take with their star big man is yet to be determined.