The Houston Rockets are a team that are firmly entrenched in the Western Conference as a playoff team, but they could use a few extra pieces to truly compete when the postseason comes around.
The West is clearly the stronger conference of the two and the Rockets have the players to make a run already. With the likes of James Harden and Dwight Howard already in the lineup, just a few tweaks might be necessary to move ahead of the other teams in the West.
While Houston hasn't been able to make some of the rumored trades early on, it is still expected to be on the market for another player to boost their roster.
With a few big names and great role players on the market from teams that are well outside of the playoff picture, the Rockets could very likely trade away a few of their own assets to acquire the one piece to put them over the top.
Houston is in an interesting position with the playoffs looming but still looking up at teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs—but the trade deadline could bring about change that the team needs.
With all of this taken into account, here are the latest trade rumors for the Rockets ahead of the Feb. 20 trade deadline.
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news on trade deadline day that the Rockets have parted ways with Aaron Brooks in exchange for the Nuggets' Jordan Hamilton:
Denver has traded Jordan Hamilton to Houston for Aaron Brooks, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 20, 2014
Wojnarowski explains why the deal made sense for both teams:
Rockets get the athletic wing player that they've wanted for the postseason, and Denver gets a capable backup for Ty Lawson.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 20, 2014
It seems as though the name Omer Asik has been on the trading block all season. Though he wasn't moved during the early parts of the trading window, Asik's name is still circulating around the NBA as a piece that the Rockets could look to move.
According to Susan Bible of Basketball Insiders, Asik's value has dropped tremendously, but he could still be a key to Houston improving their roster before the deadline:
I wish I could tell you that with certainty. The Asik situation is just crazy. I will say that I, personally, think he’ll be traded by the deadline. His value has just plummeted, but they definitely could get something of value in return. If I were [Rockets general manager Daryl] Morey, he’d be so gone.
The last part of that quote is the most interesting. Though Asik isn't seen as the same type of player that several teams were hoping to trade for earlier in the season, the plan should still be for Morey to move him now to get something in return.
But the problem with Asik still remains to be his "poison pill" contract, which has several teams turning the other way. He's slotted for $15 million next season, though $8 million of it will reflect on the NBA salary cap.
Though Morey wasn't able to move Asik earlier on in the season, the Turkish center can return soon from a thigh injury, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle, and could be moved shortly afterward.