With NBA trade rumors, most items are just chatter from league sources, but when the Houston Rockets and general manager Daryl Morey are involved, everyone perks up their ears. And beyond Texas, the Andre Miller waiting game rages on.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports moved the Rockets up a spot from No. 8 in his power rankings, but the full text for that entry was simply a trade rumor: "Francisco Garcia, who owns a player's option for next season, has been dangled in trade talks lately, a source said."
On the face of it, Garcia is not a very significant player as someone who averaged in double-digit scoring only twice through eight seasons, with the last time being five years ago.
However, Garcia found a landing spot with the Houston Rockets last year and put up solid numbers in 17.7 minutes per game through 18 tilts. Rated per 36 minutes, his numbers were sweet: 13.0 points and 3.0 three-pointers on 38.6 percent shooting, plus 1.6 steals per game.
He played 40 games this season and contributed as a shooting threat on the wing as well as a solid defender, but he never found his rhythm and has been held out since Jan. 16 with knee tendonitis.
There are plenty of teams who could use a competent defender with swingman capabilities and the shooting prowess to earn the nickname "Gar3ia." With the worst three-point percentage in the league, the Detroit Pistons come to mind, along with the Chicago Bulls or even L.A. Clippers.
GAR3IA!— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) December 27, 2013
Garcia won't fetch a princely sum, but Morey will surely extract maximum value out of any deal.
On the face of it, Morey could try to package Garcia with disgruntled center Omer Asik, who doesn't fit with Howard and has been sidelined with the thigh injury anyway. However, Morey spoke to Rockets season-ticket holders on Jan. 24 and stated that Asik would likely be staying put, per John Brannen's Houston Chronicle blog:
We pushed to trade Omer in December ... At this point, Omer is very likely going to be here until the end of his contract at the end of next season, not this season. The window to trade him was (in December), and teams weren’t aggressive enough to get him, so we’re excited about him being a part of our future
With Houston apparently intent on rolling with Howard and Asik, Morey is understandably turning his attention to moving pieces they would not re-sign anyway.
Given that Garcia has the player option, it makes sense to move him, but his trade value is paltry compared to Asik's.
Meanwhile, the excruciating Andre Miller soap opera drags on. Miller has not played since Dec. 30, and the veteran of 14 NBA seasons has shockingly made himself persona non grata around the Denver Nuggets. Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post reported on Jan. 5 that Miller was on the trading block after challenging coach Brian Shaw over his playing time.
According to Spears, there is still "nothing imminent" (per the link above) on a trade for Miller as he continues his unexpected in-season vacation.
Earlier in January, the Sacramento Kings proposed a pair of packages for Miller, but the Nuggets decided to take a wait-and-see approach with hopes that the market for the savvy veteran might improve.
According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, the Kings offered "Marcus Thornton and a future second-round pick as the framework of a deal for Miller, and have presented a package including Jimmer Fredette and a future second as an alternative."
ESPN's Darren Wolfson tweeted that the Minnesota Timberwolves are another suitor.
League contact today via text: "Andre Miller will be a Wolf or King by All-Star break." #Twolves— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) January 26, 2014
Whether it's the Kings, T-Wolves or a surprise team (the New York Knicks could certainly use some help at point guard), some franchise will surely want to add Miller, who is ninth on the all-time assists list.
With the trade deadline looming on Feb. 20, expect veterans Miller and Garcia to have different teams while Asik surprisingly stays put.