With the NBA trade deadline 24 hours away we know the Rockets won’t be sellers in the way they were in previous years, but who would be the right fit if Houston were to add to its roster?
The big names are the easiest to throw out. From Dwight Howard to Kevin Garnett, there are probably ways that the Rockets could get them on the roster, but at what cost in terms of players and salary cap? Darryl Morey appears less desperate to try to pull off the big deal since he hit on James Harden, so any blockbuster type move would probably not happen until the offseason.
Utah’s Paul Millsap would make the most sense if common ground could be struck. In a perfect world adding Millsap to the lineup likely makes the biggest impact on the Rockets’ fortunes if you can avoid trading off any of the other starters.
Unfortunately, reality too often rears its ugly head in this case. Houston has an obvious need at the four, but what the Rockets have doesn’t match the Jazz’s needs. Utah’s needs are in the backcourt, something Houston doesn’t have in great supply. Unless a third team were to get in the mix, a deal here won’t be struck.
And then there’s the matter of getting Millsap to sign an extension. The Rockets probably wouldn’t go for this deal if it were a rental situation.
A deal that could get done might be for a player like Denver center Timofey Mozgov. In Denver, the Rockets would find a more willing trade partner whose needs match more closely align with what Houston has to offer.
Would this be a trade that vaults the Rockets into a deep playoff run? No, but it would make them better without having to give up salary cap flexibility in the offseason. It does, however, fit the mold of the trades Daryl Morey loves to make (when he’s in his players are assets mode).
Will either or these players be a Rocket tomorrow night? Will there be any new Rockets? It’ll be fun finding out because these Rockets won’t be selling.