A lot of anticipation over the past several weeks was building up for the Houston Rockets, but the anticipation turned into hot air when the team made just one trade ahead of Thursday’s NBA Trade Deadline.
The Rockets were rumored to want a first-round pick in exchange for Eric Gordon and two first-round picks for Christian Wood, and while there were rumored rumblings of a deal set to happen, the pair of vets are still in Houston after the deadline.
The pros behind this are the Rockets keep two of their better players and the team’s chemistry remains nearly fully intact heading into the latter half of the season. And, in the team’s move for Theis, the team was able to free up some salary cap to spend money over the next two years in free agency.
The cons are that the team had an opportunity to move away from their best players but neglected to. Perhaps the value the Rockets front office set for the pair was too high or teams were unwilling to commit to anything beyond this season for either player, but there was an opportunity at the deadline that the Rockets failed to capitalize on.
From a basketball perspective, fans have been frustrated with Wood’s isolation tendencies rather than sharing the ball with his backcourt teammates and the idea of Gordon soaking up minutes that could go to younger players like Josh Christopher, but the fact of the matter is, whether you like it or not, Gordon and Wood are still Rockets.
In John Wall’s case, the options were extremely limited, but the reasons behind him not being dealt can be pointed to the Los Angeles Lakers’ unwillingness to part ways with the best asset up their sleeve, their 2027 first-round pick. Wall staying with the Rockets has little to do with their own willingness to move him, at least when it comes to this season.
The front office is open to criticism for not seizing this opportunity despite being a franchise that has shown a pattern of willingly seeking chances to improve the overall outlook. But the reality of the Rockets is that the trade deadline was not a make or break moment for the franchise. The team’s development was not going to make a colossal difference in the team’s overall vision moving forward.
So yes, the Rockets missed an opportunity today, but it won’t be the last one and the front office is content enough with the current state of affairs that they didn’t feel a need to make a serious change.