Should the Houston Rockets make a strong push to acquire the recently traded Bruce Brown, or should they turn their attention to a local legend, Quentin Grimes? The answer is simply “yes,” with about five exclamations following. Either of these options would present an upgrade to the status quo, but the real question is who would you prefer?
There’s also a buzzkill scenario that concludes with the Rockets not getting either guy. It’s not farfetched to imagine them getting traded for each other. Grimes and the expiring contract of Evan Fournier for Brown could realistically get it done, but selfishly, I could go without seeing another New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors trade this season.
So circling back to the Rockets’ POV, why would Houston even want to allocate their resources towards bringing in another guard when a backup big reigns as the current biggest need? Well, for one, they are serviceable players, and serviceable players that are available at that. No need to overthink it.
The Indiana Pacers would have probably liked to hold onto the well-travelled Brown, but to acquire Pascal Siakim, it required Brown’s contract amongst three first round picks and other filler. It’s not an indictment on Brown that Indiana valued other players on the roster over him, it’s just business at the end of the day.
Both sides benefited at the end of the day. Brown got a significant short-term payday coming off a great season as a super-sub in Denver, and the Pacers were able to leverage him into collecting more star power.
The same could be said about Browns’s new team, the Raptors, as they aren’t ruling out flipping him once more.
For the Rockets, Brown would provide another option off Ime Udoka’s bench, helping to stabilize a rather pedestrian unit that has missed Tari Eason for stretches of the season. Brown has also shown the ability to finish games in the playoffs and offers some versatility across the lineup despite his 6’4” frame.
Seeing how well he’s played off-ball along side offensive juggernauts such as Kevin Durant, Nikola Jokic and Tyrese Haliburton also brings incentive to acquiring him in hopes of furthering Alperen Sengun’s development.
As for Grimes, it’s no secret how much a change of scenery is needed. So I ask, where better than home? A product of Houston and surrounding areas, Grimes has fell out of favor with Tom Thibodeau after two and a half years in the Big Apple. However, I know where he would certainly be appreciated.
At worst, Grimes is an above-average three-point shooter – something the Rockets desperately need – and with an appetite for defense, he could slide into a valuable role with the Rockets. As Jalen Green continues to try and find his way through Udoka’s system, Grimes could bring friendly competition that offsets the limitations that Jalen is still working through.
While acknowledging that trading for either Brown or Grimes would clutter the wings that Jalen and Dillon Brooks occupy, I also know that it would take up minutes for a team that is still trying to work Amen Thompson and Cam Whitmore into the lineup. With that being said, a playoff spot is well within reach, so adding another good player shouldn’t be viewed in a negative light.
So what would it take to get one of these guys? A price would have to be paid, but it depends on how much, if any, draft capital Rafael Stone is willing to part with.
We already know that the Rockets have held onto the expiring contract of the injured Victor Oladipo for this purpose and this purpose only. Pairing that with Jock Landale makes up the money to get Brown, but it would certainly take more than that to entice Toronto. Any of the young players are off the table, and I can’t see Toronto being moved by Jae’Sean Tate or Aaron Holiday, so it comes down to picks.
Is Brown worth giving up a first round pick? Maybe, but that could be a high price. He has a team option next year for $23 million which makes him more than a second half rental. Plus, in the case that Houston wants to recoup some assets, he’d be an attractive option in next year’s trade deadline. It’s certainly something to consider.
Evaluating Grimes price tag is a little more challenging. He’s younger, has three-and-D potential, and whomever acquires him will have more control over his contract going forward. It’s clear that the Knicks are out on him, but I don’t think an Aaron Holiday swap would play favorably amongst Knicks brass nor fans. Houston’s Oladipo deal also doesn’t really play here either as the Knicks are searching for help behind Jalen Brunson, so a third team would probably have to get involved.
Grizzlies receive: Landale, Dipo, draft compensation— James Piercey (@JamesPiercey11) January 19, 2024
Knicks receive: Smart
Rockets receive: Fournier, Grimes
Not exactly sure what the draft capital looks like or if the Knicks want Smart specifically but that’s the framework
I liked the framework James laid out here.
Grimes makes too much sense if you’re the Rockets though. Even if it means taking back Fournier’s contract for the rest of the season, just do it. The higher upside is there with Grimes and at the very least it will play well among locals.
But there you have it, a tiny blueprint to making an in-season upgrade. Go for Grimes, land another big, and hope the Raptors and Knicks don’t make any other phone calls.