The deal was first reported by Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski on Thursday. It came in just a little more than an hour before the 3 p.m. ET league-mandated cutoff for trade activity.
Denver has traded Jordan Hamilton to Houston for Aaron Brooks, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 20, 2014
The Rockets official website later confirmed the deal.
For the Rockets and Nuggets, this trade is merely about shuffling bench talent to fit needs, as Wojnarowski notes:
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
Hamilton, 23, is one of a number of wings on Denver's roster and has received sporadic playing time at best. In January, he played more than 10 minutes just three times and was a consistent fixture at the end of the bench. The Nuggets markedly increased Hamilton's playing time before the All-Star break, which in hindsight looks like a showcase for this deal.
A move to Houston probably won't exponentially increase Hamilton's time on the floor, but it should lead to consistency. He'll plug in behind Omri Casspi in the small-forward rotation and will probably get most of his minutes when the Rockets go small, with either Chandler Parsons or Casspi playing the 4.
Sending Brooks out allows the Rockets to clear up their glut of point-guard depth. With Patrick Beverley and Jeremy Lin both back from injury and taking the lion's share of minutes, Brooks had become a secondary fixture since mid-January. He's received six DNPs since Jan. 15 and has played five or less minutes in three additional contests.
Those sparse minutes may trickle down to Isaiah Canaan, a second-round draft choice who brings a similar score-first mindset. Canaan has played in only five NBA games this season, but has been excellent in his time with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the D-League. He's averaged 21.8 points and 8.2 assists on 43.7 percent shooting in 18 games.
This is likely a welcome move for Brooks, who should see a massive uptick in playing time with Denver. Nate Robinson's season-ending knee injury put the Nuggets in the market for a point guard, and their in-house replacement option was a complete nonstarter.
Veteran guard Andre Miller had been away from the team since early January after a falling out with coach Brian Shaw. After looking for a trade partner for more than a month, the Nuggets traded Miller to the Washington Wizards in a three-team deal Thursday with the Philadelphia 76ers. Per Ken Berger of CBS, forward Jan Vesely will be heading to Denver.
“He’s a pro,” general manager Tim Connelly said of Miller, per Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. “He’s a really good guy. I think it was a situation where emotions got the best of him and we are where we are at this point. But, we have to make sure whatever we do it’s the organization’s best interest.”
Adding Brooks and subtracting Miller should clear up any locker-room strife for a Nuggets team that will likely miss the postseason a year after winning 57 games.
And, overall, it's a low-cost move for both sides. Brooks, who won the 2010 NBA's Most Improved Player Award in 2010 during his first stint in Houston, is only signed through the rest of this season at a minimum salary. Hamilton, a first-round draft choice in 2011, will also hit unrestricted free agency this summer.
With neither side finding a paradigm-shifting move on the market, this is about the best possible scenario.
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