Rockets Trade Rumors: Houston Focused on Adding Wing Talent After Slow Start

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2018

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni gestures during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018, in Washington. The Wizards won 135-131 in overtime. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

The Houston Rockets are reportedly monitoring the trade market for wing players as they attempt to dig out of their slow start.  

Kelly Iko of The Athletic reported the Rockets' main focus in trades is on the wings, which is not a surprise given the failed tenure of Carmelo Anthony. Houston agreed to part ways with Anthony after he played in 10 games, though he remains on the roster while the Rockets explore a potential trade.

Gary Clark has taken Anthony's spot in the rotation but is a glaring minus on the offensive end. Clark is shooting just 33.3 percent from the floor.

The Rockets have lost three straight games and have the NBA's worst-performing bench. Houston reserves are scoring an NBA-low 25.8 points per game, per NBA.com.

"Our bench has to produce a little bit more," D'Antoni told reporters Friday. "We got to get something out of it. We're not getting a lot of production there. It puts a lot of extra strain on the guys doing it, playing a lot of minutes with our starters."

The Rockets are in a prison of their own creation. Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute were allowed to walk in free agency after being critical contributors on last season's 65-win team. Mbah a Moute has been hurt nearly the entire season, but Ariza is languishing in Phoenix and is a perfect fit for what the Rockets need. He also only signed a one-year contract, so his departure was purely a matter of money. 

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey thought he could add Anthony among minimum-salary players for his bench, and nearly all of his recent moves have failed to pan out. Michael Carter-Williams has been borderline unplayable, Gerald Green can't hit a shot and Eric Gordon has been forced to start seven times due to injury.

The Rockets are a team to watch the moment the clock strikes Dec. 15, the date teams can begin trading contracts signed this offseason. That's when the Anthony watch really begins, and when Morey will start floating around the Brandon Knight/Marquese Chriss/draft pick combo pack in hopes of turning the season around.