The Houston Rockets have long been rumored to want to get out from under the $20 million per year deal they gave Ryan Anderson a few seasons back, and now, with the team in the midst of changing personnel on the wing after losing Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute to free agency, they’ve been active lately in trying to move Ryno for some additional help.
Despite the pending signing of Carmelo Anthony and bringing in James Ennis, Houston could still use some reinforcements of shooters and/or defenders, and to that end, Kelly Iko of USA Today is reporting that Rockets GM Daryl Morey is trying to pry Kent Bazemore away from the Atlanta Hawks.
Houston has been interested in Bazemore for a while now and tried to bring him in as a free agent in the 2016 offseason and failed, but are said to be in hot pursuit of him again in their never-ending search for three-and-D guys to place around James Harden and Chris Paul.
It’s rumored that the Hawks would be willing to take back Anderson for Bazemore provided they also received strong draft pick compensation in addition to some young talent, though a reported package of Anderson, Chinanu Onuaku and Houston’s 2019 first-round pick has been rejected by the Hawks. They’re apparently after a stronger prospect than Onuaku in return for taking Anderson.
Another road block is that Bazemore likes playing in Atlanta, and the Hawks also view him as a solid veteran locker room presence as they try to rebuild their roster with younger players.
There’s no doubting Bazemore would be a good fit in Houston if the Rockets can somehow pull this off. He’s coming off of a solid season in which he averaged 12.9 points per game and shot a scorching, career-high 39.4 percent from beyond the arc.
He also has the defense in “three-and-D” covered, finishing with a positive defensive plus-minus in each of the last four seasons straight, including a +1.1 last year. He’s also 29 years old, or four years younger than Ariza, and he has considerably less wear and tear.
He’s also not the Rockets’ only potential target in a trade for Ryno.
Also according to rumors, the Rockets have reached out to express their interest in Nicolas Batum, Demarre Carroll and one-time Rocket Courtney Lee.
Bazemore, Courtney Lee, DeMarre Carroll, and Nic Batum were the targets we identified.— RedNinetyFour (@RedNinetyFour) July 28, 2018
Batum’s contract is even bigger than Anderson’s, as he’s scheduled to make a whopping $76 million over the next three seasons, but he’s also a more useful all-around player than Anderson, and according to ESPN, the Rockets are willing to take on a long-term deal if it permits them to dump Ryno.
Batum averaged 11.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game, and he’s also been a positive defender every year of his career, though his three-point shooting has tailed of in recent seasons. He hasn’t shot above 35 percent in four years.
Carroll averaged a career-high 13.5 points and 6.6 rebounds while shooting 37 percent from deep last season with the Brooklyn Nets, though his defense did slip a little. He’s in the final year of a four-year, $60 million deal that will pay him $15.4 million this season, so there would likely be other moving parts in any deal consummated for Anderson.
Lee spent two years with the Rockets from 2010-2012, and he’s coming off of his finest season as a pro. He averaged a career-high 12 points per game with the New York Knicks, and he shot a blistering 40.6 percent from beyond the arc and is a career 39 percent shooter from deep.
He’s not as tight defensively as the other rumored targets, but that three-point shot sure would look nice in a Rockets’ uniform. He has two-years, $12 million left on his deal.
So what say you, TDS? If you could get your hands on one of these guys, which would you prefer? And if a piece of Houston’s young talent needs to be included (and it’s already been determined that Onuaku is a no go), who would you be willing to give up?
Tell us in the comments.