With the Houston Rockets heading into the All-Star break on a 13-game losing streak and with one of the worst overall records in the league, it’s time to put an eye towards the future. The Rockets are likely to be big sellers as we push towards the March 25 trade deadline, and they have a cadre of players who have the potential to be moved. Here are the latest trade rumors on the most likely trade targets.
It hasn’t been a very good season for Danuel House. After getting himself ejected from the playoff bubble last summer for a COVID-19 protocol violation, many expected a bounce-back year from House, and it just hasn’t happened. He’s played in only 22 of Houston’s 34 games, starting 12, due to injury, and his stats have dropped off pretty much across the board. He’s averaging just 9.1 points, 4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 0.6 steals per season on 37.5 percent from the field and 31.2 percent from deep.
Despite the underwhelming stats, House has been drawing interest on the trade market, with ESPN’s Brian Windhorst recently saying on his podcast:
“I’ve heard Danuel House’s name. At least some teams doing some research on Danuel House... I’ve heard some teams poking around on him, doing some background stuff.”
House is currently in the second season of a three-year, $11.15 million contract, and his $3.7 million per year salary makes him an attractive target as an affordable role player. So while there are no concrete rumors of specific teams quite yet, don’t be suprised if things heat up with House as we get closer to the deadline.
Gordon is another Rockets player that has been active in trade talks without any specific suitors being mentioned. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said earlier this week that there has been a “great deal of interest” from teams in Gordon, and that shouldn’t come as a surprise to Rockets fans.
EG is having a bounce-back year, averaging 17.8 points per game on 43.7 percent shooting from the field and and 33 percent from deep, all improvements from last season, which could make him enticing to a title contender looking for a microwave scorer.
Gordon’s contract could get tricky for a contender, as he’s scheduled to receive $18.2 million next season, $19.5 million in 2022-2023, and has a team option for $21 million in 2023-20024, so we’ll see if a playoff team is willing to take on several more years of an aging Gordon.
This one is a little bit of a surprise considering Wall’s sky-high $40 million-plus contract and the fact that the Rockets just acquired him this offseason, but Wall is having a bounce-back year after recovering from a torn Achilles, and he’s averaging 21 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 6 assists, while shooting 42.5 percent from the field and 34 percent from three. While no longer prime, Wall is far from washed.
But that massive contract had him untradeable in many Rockets fans’ minds, and from what we’re hearing now, that just might not be the case. True Hoop’s Tom Haberstroh recently mentioned that the Miami Heat are in hot pursuit of another star in order to potentially spearhead another deep postseason run. Miami currently sits at 18-18 and are disappointed in their early start. Haberstroh said:
If the Heat decide to make a deal, rival executives wonder if a package centered on Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and Rising Star rookie Precious Achiuwa could net another star. Heat brass have shrewdly signed Kelly Olynyk and Meyers Leonard to mid-tier contracts. Those are big enough that the Heat can likely satisfy the league’s salary-matching rules should they bring in a high-salaried star.
John Wall and Kyle Lowry are potential targets.
So what earlier this year seemed an impossibility now doesn’t look so implausible. Any three-player combination of Leonard, Olynyk, Andre Iguodala, and Goran Dragic can get it done financially for the Heat, and the Rockets could also ask for a young piece or future draft pick if they want to sweeten the deal. Olynyk’s deal expires this year, while the other three players have contracts that expire next year, so a trade could offer Houston some future flexibility they wouldn’t have with Wall’s monster deal on the books until 2023.
Likely? Probably not. Possible? Certainly. Teams are wise to the fact you have to take advantage of a window. Adding Wall to Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo gives Miami a legit big three.
One of the favorites to be moved, Oladipo never wanted to be in Houston, and with a $21 million deal that’s expiring at the end of this season and a reputation as a solid two-way player and former All-Star, he shouldn’t be difficult for the Rockets to move.
Dipo’s counting stats on the year look good, as he’s sporting averages of 20 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 1.4 steals per game, but he’s had some horrible efficiency, shooting just 38 percent from the field and 31 percent from three.
But as he gets healthier, teams will be banking on his play improving when he gets in a location he wants to be at.
The Heat are again potential suitors here, as it’s being reported that’s where Oladipo would like to wind up, but it’s being reported that the New York Knicks are also extremely interested. According to the New York Post:
Oladipo remains in play for the Knicks as the Rockets are expected to trade him at the deadline as they slide into oblivion. Oladipo will be a free agent in 2021 and reportedly wants to sign with the Heat. That would make Oladipo a rental as the Knicks look to boost their bid to snap a seven-year playoff drought.
Knicks general manager Scott Perry, while with the Magic, drafted Oladipo second overall in 2013, and he has been a supporter of a potential trade. But Perry no longer is the top decision-maker.
I’m always down for the Knicks to swoop in and save the day by taking a player we’d like to get off our hands.
Tucker has been unhappy with the organization for a little while now, as they failed to offer the soon-to-be 36-year-old role player a contract extension. As a result, you can tell Tucker’s heart isn’t in it, as he’s averaging his lowest stats totals since his rookie year despite playing 30 minutes per night.
He’s expected to be highly coveted as the trade deadline draws near, as his $7.9 million contract makes him an affordable defender and glue guy that could help a lot of title contenders down the stretch.
He’s been linked to a multitude of teams, from Daryl Morey’s Philadelphia 76ers, to reuniting with James Harden with the Brooklyn Nets to the defending world champion Los Angeles Lakers. The Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets, and Utah Jazz are all also reportedly in the mix, so maybe it’s possible the Rockets could squeeze a first-round pick out of someone, though a second is probably more likely.
A recent report suggested a possible buyout, but I see that as unlikely due to the extended interest in Tucker’s services.
Most likely Rocket to be moved?
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