The Rockets have struggled this year, no question about it. Losing tonight to the Mavericks puts them at 22-26, sure it could be worse, but it could be a lot better. The Rockets "thing" this year is either blowing leads in the fourth quarter or teasing us Rockets fans with a comeback.
With the trade deadline less than a month away, the Rockets need to make a decision, blow up and rebuild or go all in and trade for a star. Obviously, fans would prefer the latter, but as superstars are few and far between on the trade market (Melo is NOT a superstar), it's going to be tricky. GM Daryl Morey is one of the best at what he does, compiling above average role players and assets that could be traded to acquire that superstar.
But who is that player that would secure the Rockets a playoff spot and bring them back to their greatness of two decades ago? Is it Carmelo? Is it Chris Paul?
Well, let's take a look at 10 possible trade scenarios that can catapult the Rockets back to the playoffs and possibly beyond them.
The Trade: Andre Iguodala and Craig Brackins for Shane Battier, Patrick Patterson, Jarred Jeffries and a first round draft pick.
It has long been rumored that Andre Iguodala wanted out of Philadelphia and it has long been rumored that Philadelphia would oblige to that request by Andre. But nothing has happened...yet.
Houston loves Shane Battier, but he's losing a step and is not productive at the offensive end. Andre Iguodala is a young, elite defender and scores, passes and rebounds. He's your typical stat sheet stuffer. He would come into Houston and give them a boost at the defensive end, which they desperately need, and another scorer on this already potent offense.
Heading over to Philadelphia's side of the deal. Philadelphia wants to keep its playoffs hopes alive, but they also need a young big man with a good upside. This trade helps them do both.
Shane Battier would provide the veteran leadership on a team with no true leader if Iguodala leaves, being one of the best defenders in the league is always nice to throw in as well. But the big kicker for Philly is Patrick Patterson, the 14th pick in the 2010 draft. Patrick has been solid all year, he rebounds, he has a smooth jumper and is a hard worker, not to mention plenty of upside.
But if that wasn't enough, throw in Jarred Jeffries and his seven million dollar expiring contract and add in Shane Battiers seven million expiring, that's 14 million dollars you have to either resign the guys for less or spend on any player you want. Then obviously the draft pick is just a bonus, as any rebuilding team knows, draft picks are the key.
This trade also clears it up so Evan Turner can finally get a chance to break out of his shadow behind Andre and show people that he deserved to be picked second overall.
It's a good move for both teams, the only worry is that Andre Iguodala is overpaid. He is making 12 million per year for the next four years. He's a guy that should be making around eight million per year. Sure, it's not that big of a difference, but it's still a potential roadblock.
The Trade: Stephen Curry, Dan Gadzuric, Vladimir Radmanovic and Charlie Bell for Yao Ming, Aaron Brooks and Jordan Hill and a first round draft pick.
Warriors executives made it no secret everyone on their roster was available if it makes their team better. This trade may not make them better for this instant, but in a year or two will help them out.
But first let's analyze the Rockets' side of the deal.
Stephen Curry is a sophomore point guard out of Davidson and finished second in Rookie of the Year voting. Steph is struggling a little bit this year and that might have made the Warriors front office consider trading him.
Stephen might not be that superstar right now, but he will be. The sky is the limit for this kid and I fully expect him to one day be a top five point guard in this league. He has great passing ability, great shooting ability and is just a good scorer. Sure, he can improve a bit on the defensive end, but so could a lot of people (Steve Nash).
The others would likely be waived on arrival, except maybe Gadzuric, because of his height and ability to block shots.
Onto the Warriors' side of the deal.
Obviously, you never expect to trade the runner up for Rookie of the Year, but the Warriors are going no where and frankly, they aren't getting any younger. They have a lot of money invested in David Lee, 80 million dollars, in fact, and Monta Ellis made it clear that he doesn't want to play beside Stephen.
So what do you do? Do you get the guy you've always wanted in Yao Ming? I know he's not playing, but he saves you eight million dollars in insurance and has a 17 million dollar expiring contract that the Warriors might be very interested in. Golden State has also expressed a lot of interest in signing the big man and having him play for them next season. It could be the perfect match
Aaron Brooks would fit right in to Golden State's up tempo style of play and work perfectly next to Monta Ellis. It would be a great pickup for G-State because as of right now, Curry is not much better than Brooks.
Jordan Hill is a young big guy who would be great off the bench for them. He still has a lot to learn, but has only been playing basketball since his junior year in high school.
The Trade: Carmelo Anthony, Nene Hilario and Al Harrington for Yao Ming, Aaron Brooks, Luis Scola, Patrick Patterson, Shane Battier and draft picks.
Ok, I think all of us know Carmelo has been on the trading block for quite some time. He's almost been a Net about 15 times now. But even though you might not have heard it, Houston has been actively pursuing Melo since before the season started.
At one point, they were considered favorites to acquire him, but times have changed and new speculation comes out. Right now, Houston is a team considered to be a top player for Anthony, even without getting a guarantee of a contract extension. ESPN even said they are probably New York's biggest threat in obtaining Mr. Anthony. But onto the trade.
Although I, and many others, don't consider Carmelo Anthony to be a superstar, he is a great scorer, one of the best in the league. He is a go to guy who you can build a team around. Carmelo would immediately make Houston a playoff contender, the only question is, would he sign an extension? My theory on that, the new CBA will likely make the difference between resigning and signing as a free agent, so great that it will force Anthony to resign with Houston.
I say go for it.
Nene brings Houston a guy who can actually defend the post. Nene is far from an elite post defender, but hey, it's a start. Nene is also playing all-star caliber basketball on the offensive end and would take the place of Scola right away.
Al Harrington would most likely replace Scola at the power forward position with Nene at center. Al being in the deal is more of Denver wanting to get rid of his contract.
Now I know what some of you are saying, Luis Scola? Why would Denver want him? Well, I'm as confused as you, but sources report Denver thinks very highly of Scola and he would likely have to be included in a trade for Carmelo.
Aaron Brooks is a young point guard who could handle the scoring load once Carmelo leaves, he could keep them competitive enough to make a run at the playoffs.
Shane Battier would be the guy to mentor the young players and he also adds in seven million dollars of expiring contract. Yao Ming also adds in huge savings and a 17 million dollar expiring.
Patrick Patterson is a young guy with plenty of upside and is just what a rebuilding team who wants to stay somewhat competitive is looking for. And obviously they get a one or two first rounder to help with the rebuilding process.
The Trade: Deron Williams and Mehmet Okur for Yao Ming, Aaron Brooks, Patrick Patterson, Chase Budinger, Jarred Jeffries and draft picks.
Ok, you're probably saying, "Since when is Deron Williams on the trade block?"
Ok, well at this moment in time...he isn't. But Deron is frustrated with the play of Utah lately and has a chance at finding his way to a different team by the deadline. Houston should be that team.
Deron Williams is anyone's dream in a point guard. He's got the size, the ability and the smarts. The complete package. Arguably the best player at his position, it would be the perfect pickup for Houston. Add in the outside shooting and pretty solid post defender in Mehmet Okur and Houston turns into an upper echelon team.
But it's going to be hard to pry Deron loose, to say the least.
In this deal, Utah will be getting Yao Ming, who saves them eight million dollars and adds in a 17 million dollar expiring contract. They also get Jarred Jeffries, who has a seven million dollar expiring contract.
Aaron Brooks would be Deron's successor and would be great working with Al Jefferson in an inside-outside game, possibly keeping them in the playoff chase.
Also, getting a couple young players in Chase Budinger and Patrick Patterson doesn't hurt. But especially Patterson, young big guys with his upside are few and far between, thus making him the perfect asset for Utah.
Add in two first round draft picks and voila.
The Trade: Gerald Wallace and Nazr Mohammed for Aaron Brooks, Yao Ming and a first round draft pick.
Gerald Wallace has been rumored to being shopped for a while now and the Cleveland Cavaliers have been at the front of those rumors, but nothing has been close to being done.
Houston gets one of the best defenders and rebounders at his position in Gerald Wallace. Although Gerald isn't a "go-to scorer," he can score and Houston would welcome him in as a better version of Shane Battier.
Nazr Mohammed would enter as the starting center and averaging a block a game, his presence would be loved by Rockets fans and teammates in the paint.
Charlotte has been in search of a point guard for a long time now, maybe not publicly, but I think we all know D.J. Augustin isn't starting point guard material. On the other hand, Aaron Brooks is. He would come in and offer a go-to scorer, something Charlotte doesn't have.
Yao Ming offers savings, which Charlotte definitely could use, and his 17 million dollars in expiring contract allows Charlotte to sign some young guys this offseason.
Then Charlotte gets a draft pick and get the next Michael Jordan?
Here are some trades that are extremely unlikely to occur and just a sentence or two of explanation.
Chris Paul and Emeka Okafor for Aaron Brooks, Yao Ming, Shane Battier, Patrick Patterson, Jarred Jeffries and a first round draft pick. A trade for Chris Paul would have a slide of its own if NOLA wasn't playing so well. Chris Paul being traded is unlikely at this point.
Demarcus Cousins and Samuel Dalembert for Yao Ming, Aaron Brooks, Jordan Hill and a first round draft pick. This is a trade, or a trade close to this, is something that Houston has offered up to Sacramento. But the Kings are very uninterested in trading Cousins.
Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert and Mike Dunleavy for Yao Ming, Aaron Brooks, Jarred Jeffries and a first round draft pick. Houston would love this trade, but Indiana would probably be reluctant to let go of Hibbert, much less Hibbert and Granger.
Josh Smith and Mike Bibby for Yao Ming, Aaron Brooks and Jordan Hill. Probably the most likely out of these four.
Thoughts on the trades?
Go ahead and post a comment if you agree disagree, I'll try and respond to it in a timely fashion.
Shoot me an email at email@example.com
Follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/James_Schmidt1
Hope you enjoyed it.