Tick Tock! Tick Tock! It’s Trade Deadline o’clock!
Months turned into weeks. Weeks have turned into days. And days have now turned into hours as teams look to buy or sell heading into the stretch run of the season.
The Rockets front office has always been busy at this time of the year, and this year is no different for an entirely different reason.
The oft-buyers have turned into sellers after the Rockets have failed to keep the ship sailing this season.
The Rockets have been at the center of the trade market since the beginning of the year. There have been 10 trades in the league since December, and the Rockets have been involved in five of them (Westbrook, Harden, Oladipo, Porter Jr., Tucker).
As one of the biggest sellers on the market, it appeared that the Rockets would be at the center of the trade deadline. However, I think that notion has shifted.
While there are several suitors for Victor Oladipo, the Rockets might be able to get their pick of the crop. But after the P.J. Tucker trade, the center of the trade season has actually shifted more to the east and closer to the beach — South Beach.
The Miami Heat are the one buyer in the East that seems very intrigued in making a splash, a big one at that. The reigning Eastern Conference champions are in win-now mode and their record this season (22-22) does not reflect a contender’s record. They’ve already made a move acquiring former Rocket Trevor Ariza, but they likely aren’t done. The team is reportedly in talks to trade for another former Rocket, Kyle Lowry.
Now, how does this affect what the Rockets do?
Kyle Lowry holds a lot of the cards and the competitive balance in the East might very well be in his hands since the Raptors are giving him a say in if/where he wants to go. If he opts to go to Miami, it likely nixes the idea that the Heat would also trade for Oladipo. I’m sure the Heat have their sights on Lowry, but if that train leaves the station, Vic could be in the cards.
This is where the Rockets come in.
The Rockets should totally consider trading Vic to the Heat since it’s his ideal destination, but not if it isn’t the highest value for him. However, given Miami’s assets and other teams’ concerns about Vic being a rental, the Heat could have the best offer on the table for the Rockets.
ESPN Sources: Heat and Knicks - w/ summer cap space - are reluctant to offer premium packages for Victor Oladipo, but market’s developed of capped-out teams bidding w/ young player/first-round pick combos. One thing’s become clear: Houston’s likely moving Oladipo before deadline.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 23, 2021
While it would be great, I would think that Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson would be off the table in a deal like this. The Heat have some young players like Precious Achiuwa, Kendrick Nunn, KZ Okpala and Max Strus that could intrigue the Rockets and make sense in a deal like this.
There are other rumors and deals that will likely surface during this time, but the Rockets have the benefit of playing hardball in a buyer’s market which makes them a very powerful team with just hours left before the clock strikes zero.
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