NBA Trades: Were the Houston Rockets' Deadline Deals Necessary?
The Houston Rockets had me and a couple other friends practically up all night nervous wondering who we were going to get and when. It was virtually silent for about 30 minutes until someone posted that we were in serious discussion for Hasheem Thabeet.
I asked around and was told it was nothing by a couple of "experts" with connections to the Rockets front office. But after nothing materialized, I went to bed at about two in the morning, nervous for the deadline.
Here we stand today, the Rockets have added two new players to their roster and appear to be in more of a rebuilding mode. But the Rockets are still in a position where acquiring one or two big-name players makes them a contender. It all depends on the road Daryl Morey wants to travel.
But now you have to ask the question, were these trades really necessary? What was Morey thinking when he made these trades? We're about to answer those questions, and all it takes is a click of the mouse onto the next slide.
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Memphis Grizzlies trade: C Hasheem Thabeet, F Demarre Carroll and a lottery-protected 2013 first-round draft pick.
Houston Rockets trade: F Shane Battier and G Ishmael Smith.
A lot of Rockets fans were very unhappy with this trade, mainly because the deal trades away fan favorite and team leader Shane Battier. But fans need to look past loyalty and see this was a very smart basketball move.
Houston was desperately in need of a legitimate shot blocker. Well, with everything Hasheem doesn't do well, he is an extremely gifted shot blocker with excellent timing. But in every other aspect of the game, he is extremely raw.
He has major work to do getting smarter at playing the game of basketball. Keep in mind and be patient, Rockets fans, knowing he has only been playing basketball since his junior year in high school.
Demarre Carroll was more of a throw-in than anything else; don't expect him to play much, if at all.
I do think Houston could have done a bit better than a 2013 first-rounder, but I guess you take what you can get.
Loss of Battier Stands Out
Now you look at what Houston gives up, Shane Battier really stands out. The longtime Rocket was acquired in a trade a few years ago for the draft rights to Rudy Gay.
Now while that seems like a lopsided trade, you'd understand why they did it if you look back at Houston's situation, they knew Gay would turn out to be like this.
But why would Houston give back Battier to the team they got him from? Simple, they probably aren't making the playoffs this year. And with Battier's $7 million expiring contract, more than likely they aren't going to re-sign him. So there is absolutely no reason not to trade him.
Then you look at Ish Smith, the undrafted rookie out of Wake Forest; he proved his worth in the NBA by playing very well with Houston. But he was seldom used and he will fit right in backing up Michael Conley in Memphis.
My grade for this trade: "B". It was necessary for Houston to start the youth movement and find a center to potentially replace the oft-injured Yao Ming.
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Phoenix Suns trade G Goran Dragic and a lottery-protected first-round draft pick (if Suns end up in lottery Rockets get Orlando draft pick which Phoenix acquired in Jason Richardson trade).
Rockets trade G Aaron Brooks.
Another Trade Questioned
Another trade lots of Rockets, and Suns fans for that matter, questioned. Living in Phoenix, I know Dragic was loved here and lots of people were very sad to see him leave.
Dragic is struggling this season, but the crazy thing about this trade is Brooks is struggling even worse. For Houston to worm a first-rounder out of this deal is amazing.
Houston gets Goran Dragic, the lightning-fast point guard out of Slovenia. He can shoot, pass and finish at the rim. Really the ideal guy for Houston.
They don't have a true point guard and every other point guard they have is undersized. Dragic certainly is not undersized, standing 6'3".
He also comes cheap; he will cost only $2.1 million next year if Houston picks up his option.
Add in a mid- to late-first round pick, and Houston is feeling pretty good about this trade.
Reasons for Moving Brooks
Okay, but wait a second, Houston is giving up on Aaron Brooks this easily? The same Aaron Brooks that averaged 20 points per game and won the Most Improved Player award? That Aaron Brooks?
Well, Houston traded Aaron Brooks for a few reasons.
Reason No. 1, he was having just an atrocious season, shooting well under 40 percent from the field and under 30 percent from three-point range.
Reason No. 2, he was PO'd at the whole organization for not getting a contract extension and for not getting his starting position back.
The third and final reason is because Houston heard from some sources a team planned to offer him starter's money, and Houston is already paying Kyle Lowry starter's money. You can't pay two people at the same position that kind of money.
So what's my trade grade? I give it an "A". Was it necessary? No. But it gives Houston a first-round pick and a point guard with some upside who is used to coming off the bench.
Just another side note, this trade opens up playing time for seldom-used Terrence Williams. Definitely another thing to be excited about. This kid is a future All-Star, in my opinion.
Thanks for reading, guys; you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/James_Schmidt1.
The Rockets are only one game out of .500 tonight with that big win over New Orleans, and things are certainly looking up.
While still not likely, a playoff push is possible.