In a trade that will not be official until at least Wednesday, the Rockets have reportedly acquired athletic swingman Terrence Williams from the New Jersey Nets in a three-way deal that will send Williams to Houston, Joe Smith to the Los Angeles Lakers, and Sasha Vujacic and two first-round picks (one from Houston and one from Los Angeles) to New Jersey.
A somewhat troubled player, Terrence Williams has struggled to get out of his coach's doghouse and even was demoted to the D-League for a stretch so the Nets could send him a message. He was reportedly repeatedly tardy to team activities and had butted heads on numerous occasions with coach Avery Johnson and was thus sent to Houston.
Despite his poor reputation, the Rockets got a very nice player. With the ability to pass, score, and rebound, Williams could become a triple-double threat on many nights with the right amount of playing time.
So how will the team react to his arrival? Here are five consequences of the trade for the Rockets.
By taking on a player without sending one out on a full roster, the Rockets needed to create a roster spot for Williams. Without missing a beat, the Rockets quickly moved to trade the now-expendable Jermaine Taylor to the Kings for a future second-round pick.
With the Kings in town, many have surmised that Daryl Morey simply walked down the hall and told the Kings general manager that Taylor could be his for a second-round pick, but that theory could not be further from the truth given Morey's track record.
Taylor has been on the trading block for months and the Rockets appear to have been showcasing Taylor in recent games, to boost his value. While losing Taylor may be a bit of a disappointment, the Rockets recently have been able to find gold in the second round and he lacked a long-term role with the team.
Off to an absolutely horrible start to the year, Chase Budinger has still remained in the rotation because of a lack of a better option and his tremendous rookie season. His shooting has slumped, his defense has been horrible, and his overall body language has been one of a basketball player who is not into the game.
Now if Budinger wants to keep getting regular playing time, he needs to reestablish himself as the top-flight shooter and transition player that he was in his rookie year. Budinger will be fighting for his future as an NBA player this year, and perhaps lighting a fire under him is all that is needed.
As Lester Thurow once said: "A competitive world offers two possibilities. You can lose. Or, if you want to win, you can change." If Budinger wants to stay in the rotation, he will have to change, as the Rockets just acquired a more athletic, more enticing prospect in Williams.
While generally considered to be one of the deeper teams in the league coming into the year, the Rockets will undoubtedly be the league's deepest once Williams joins the team and Yao and Aaron Brooks return from injury.
With Williams in the fold, the Rockets are full of players who started for teams in the last year. Kyle Lowry, Courtney Lee, Williams, Jared Jeffries, Brad Miller and Chuck Hayes have started for extended periods of time in the last year. And while some of them started due to injury or a lack of talent around them, all of these players now find themselves on the Rockets bench.
When discussing depth, people often overlook the difference between a team with a lot of bodies on the bench and a truly deep team with quality depth. The Rockets' bench is not filled with useless big men only there to take six fouls quickly, but rather it is filled with solid players who can take over for the starters when they go out.
To realize this incredible depth, the Rockets are going to have to do something that they have been unable to do—they must stay healthy. Whether they can or cannot, the bench is much stronger for the trade.
After giving up a first-round pick to get Terrence Williams, the Rockets got a second rounder in exchange for Jermaine Taylor, seemingly hurting the Rockets chances in the draft moving forward. However, upon further inspection of the deal, the Rockets could have potentially aided themselves significantly in the draft over the next two years.
By giving the Nets a first-round pick, the Rockets could have potentially helped the Nets construct a winning deal to get Carmelo Anthony. While there have been conflicting reports on Anthony's willingness to sign an extension outside of New York, as the trade deadline nears and Anthony realizes how much money he is set to lose by refusing a trade, Billy King and Avery Johnson's sales pitch could certainly resonate with Anthony a little more.
So why does this help the Rockets?
Due to a deadline deal last year, the Rockets own the higher of the Knicks' and Rockets' first-round pick in 2011 and the Knicks' first rounder in 2012. While the Knicks have looked strong over the last month, a lot can change in a year-and-a-half.
With Anthony, the Knicks would be championship contenders. However, without him, the Knicks are merely another team out East. By giving the Nets another pick, the Rockets boosted their odds of getting a high draft pick the next two years.
Say what you want about Williams' attitude or his punctuality, but there is no doubt that his presence improves the team drastically. While he was sent to the D-League to get some playing time, he is an athletic prospect that has a higher potential than nearly anyone on the Rockets roster.
With his passing ability and mid-range shooting touch, Terrence Williams already is a fairly solid player and he could become a very good starter in this league with the right opportunity. While the Rockets have generally strayed away from bad characters in recent years, Rick Adelman has shown that he can handle the "problem children."
With the threat to get a triple-double on any given night, Williams brings a completely different dimension to a Rockets team that lacks a dominant force. He may not be a dominant force, but he certainly looks like it on some nights.