Trading Dwight Howard and Ty Lawson was always going to be a heavy lift. The value of expiring contracts are at an all-time low due to the coming eight-figure bump in the salary cap. Ty Lawson looks like the shell of a functioning NBA point guard with little to deliver to an NBA playoff contender.
The best liquid asset on the Houston Rockets roster is Terrence Jones. The fourth year power forward from Kentucky is averaging 9.3 ppg and 4.5 rpg in 22.3 mpg on the Rockets this season. Jones has failed to produce for the Rockets when he's seen the court this season as those numbers are both below his 2013 - 2014 high of 12.1 ppg and 6.9 rpg in 27.3 mpg.
Despite his 2015 - 2016 lag Jones has shown promise and could easily start on a bevy of NBA teams or be an off-the-bench asset for a contender. Jones is a restricted free agent at the end of this season when his rookie deal expires and it seems increasingly unlikely the Rockets would match an offer for Jones, instead opting to maintain salary cap flexibility and continue seeking the stretch power forward Jones hasn't morphed into.
Jones is proving expendable for the current Rockets team. The Dwight Howard and Clint Capela starting lineup relegated Jones to the bench. Meanwhile Donatas Montiejunas has shown a higher level of promise over the last calendar year and currently suffers from a depreciated value due to a nagging back injury. This means the Rockets can avoid paying as much to keep the Lithuanian during free agency. And finally the reacquisition of Josh Smith means the Rockets have a power forward they can put on the floor in the playoffs.
So. Why hasn't Terrence Jones been traded yet?