As we near draft night, it looks like the Houston Rockets may not make any moves unless it is to get a mid-to-late second-round pick. And while GM Daryl Morey's phone keeps blowing up for Tracy McGrady, he seems more interested in keeping the hobbled All-Star until he is healthy and ready to play.
But while McGrady and other players like Aaron Brooks, Shane Battier, Carl Landry, and others are thrown around in trade talks, Morey seems more to stand pat with his team, which showed it can be a strong team even without McGrady and Yao Ming.
That could force Morey to keep most of his team in place. The only real glaring problem for the Rockets —besides what to do with T-Mac—is finding a backup center in case Yao is injured, which has been the norm for the last three seasons.
Dikembe Mutombo was a good backup, but now he’s retired, the Rockets need someone more rounded in his game than just rebounding.
There are a good number of free agent forwards/centers that could contribute to the Rockets’ cause, but it will be depending on whether the free agent wants to sign for less money or if Morey wants to use the mid-level exception.
That could determine the level of player the Rockets might get in free agency, like either a Drew Gooden, a Zaza Pachulia, or even Rasheed Wallace. Former Rocket Stromile Swift would also be a nice fit, but only if he takes a lot less money.
There are also some players that could become available in a trade, as the recession and the upcoming 2010 free agent bonanza are forcing teams to dump salary.
But here’s who I would target if I took over as the general manager for the Rockets and was attempting to get a big bench player that could become a starter if Yao does go down for a while.
1. Drew Gooden:
A free agent that can still score and can be physical on the boards. But now that the Spurs traded two power forwards for Richard Jefferson, they might now want to keep Gooden around, especially as insurance for Tim Duncan if he starts to slow down.