Houston Rockets: 10 Centers Who Could Replace Yao Ming
Yao Ming was sidelined earlier this season with what seemed to be a fairly minor injury, but things took a turn for the worse once Houston realized it was possibly career-threatening.
Yao had once again suffered a stress fracture in his foot, meaning he’s out for the rest of this season and possibly more.
Ever since Houston figured out Yao would be out for the season, it’s been rumored they have been looking for a replacement.
Not very many names have popped up, but Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey likes keeping things behind the scenes, and a deal could very well be in the works.
As an example, I don’t think anyone ever considered Kevin Martin becoming a Houston Rocket last season, but it happened.
Morey and Rick Adelman know a big man is needed to win games, especially when your starting center is 6’6” Chuck Hayes. A shot blocker is desperately needed.
So let’s dive in to the 10 players who could replace Yao Ming.
Marcus Camby probably isn’t the first choice for the Rockets, as his contract isn’t the best and he is aging.
But he is one of the best shotblockers and rebounders in the game and if you can get him for a cheap enough price, easily worth the assets.
Portland is just about to enter the "let’s get as much young talent as we can because we have been screwed by injuries" mode. Houston has the young talent that can help them.
But again, it’ll be a tough deal for Houston to pull the trigger on, mainly because of Camby’s age and as well for Portland because they are contending for a playoff spot.
Okay, before I get any comments saying, “you idiot, Indiana isn’t trading Roy Hibbert,” I know he’s probably the one guy they are most reluctant to trade, but Larry Bird has more or less said that none of his players are untouchable.
Sure it’d be a hefty price, but getting a 7’2” center who can stroke it from mid range sure sounds like a nice thing to me.
Roy is also very young and going to get a lot better throughout the next few years, especially working with scorers he can kick the ball to like Kevin Martin, Aaron Brooks and even having a buddy who can score in the post in Luis Scola.
Another fairly unlikely trade here mainly because New Orleans has been playing so well this season. Emeka is averaging 11 points, 10 rebounds and about 2 blocks per game.
He would be worshipped like a god in Houston because of his defensive presence in the paint. He and Chuck Hayes would work hand in hand with each other because of their toughness at the defensive end.
Daryl Morey, if you can pull of a trade for Emeka, I will love you forever.
Nene isn’t the No. 1 choice on the list mainly because he lacks the will and the skill defensively. He’s also a poor rebounder. But he scores, a whole lot, actually he has a +20 efficiency rating, not too shabby.
Even though Nene isn’t an A+ defender, he does get about a block and a steal per game, so nothing to complain about. Certainly better than Houston’s situation with Chuck Hayes.
You might ask, well why would Denver trade Nene? Because with Melo most likely on his way out, the Nuggets might decide to go into rebuild mode and get rid of the aging Nene and even if they don’t, he will be a free agent this offseason and the Rockets can pursue him then.
Marc Gasol is having a sort of a down season in Memphis, although the team is doing quite well, sitting at two games above .500 and right in the middle of the hunt for the eighth seed.
Marc is averaging 12 points, 7 rebounds and just less than two blocks per game this season.
Although I strongly doubt Memphis would consider trading him, he is a free agent after this season and the Rockets will be looking to capitalize on at least one of the free agent centers.
Is Marc the one? I’m not sure, but I sure hope so, because he is young and still has some upside.
Mehmet Okur is one of the more underrated post defenders in the league, he is surprisingly physical and a tough shot-blocking presence in the paint.
Mehmet can also stretch the floor with a nice jump shot from mid-range and from beyond the arc.
Maybe not the perfect fit, especially considering his contract isn’t the best as he is earning $10 million per year and he is aging. But either way a viable option.
Kendrick Perkins is one of the best post defenders in the league and he is only 26 years of age.
He is a Celtic and I doubt it will change, but he is a free agent at the end of this year and if the Celtics decide not to put the money on the table Kendrick is going to ask for, the Rockets will, with no hesitation.
Kendrick will not come to Houston or anywhere else for that matter through a trade, the Celtics want him for another shot at the title and I’m sure Kendrick doesn’t want to leave.
So like I said, it all comes down to what he wants to do as a free agent.
DeAndre Jordan is an extremely athletic center for the Clippers who has been getting a whole lot of minutes this season because of Chris Kaman’s injury issues. He is young and a great shot blocking presence as he is averaging almost two swats a game.
He would likely come at a fairly cheap cost, as he doesn’t give you a whole lot at the offensive side of the ball, but can put in some pretty spectacular jams.
The Clippers center mentioned in the last slide about being injured, Chris Kaman, has been rumored to be traded. Houston should step in and be that team.
They get a offensive post presence, as Kaman averaged 18 points and 9 rebounds last year.
He also averages over a block per game for his career and although he is not the best defender, like most of these guys he is definitely an upgrade over Chuck Hayes.
Andrew Bogut is probably the least likely guy in this slideshow to get traded, but with Milwaukee struggling like they are and the big money they owe Bogut over the next few years, a trade is certainly an option.
Now most teams don’t just go trading their big man for a mediocre deal, and it will take the kitchen sink and more to get Bogut, but it’s more than worth it.
Bogut will get you more than two blocked shots per game along with 13 points and 12 rebounds. One of the dominant big men in the game, Bogut gets the job done.
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