Rockets Trade Rumors: Ben McLemore Drawing Interest from Multiple Contenders

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2021

Houston Rockets' Ben McLemore moves the ball against the Orlando Magic during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 13, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

Houston Rockets guard Ben McLemore has reportedly become a hot commodity on the trade market ahead of the March 25 NBA trade deadline.

According to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, multiple contenders have expressed interest in acquiring the 28-year-old veteran.

The expectation is that the Rockets will wheel and deal as sellers at the deadline since they are 14th in the Western Conference at 11-24.

McLemore is in the midst of his eighth NBA season and his second as a member of the Rockets. This season has been something of a struggle, as he is averaging just 6.4 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.4 three-pointers made and 1.0 assist per game, while shooting 35.9 percent from the field and 30.9 percent from beyond the arc.

His struggles from deep are particularly concerning since he made big strides in that area over the previous two seasons.

McLemore shot a career-best 41.5 percent from three-point range with the Sacramento Kings in 2018-19 and 40.0 percent from the Rockets last season, while averaging a career-high 2.5 trifectas per contest.

He also averaged 10.1 points per game last season, which was his best scoring output since his second NBA season in 2014-15 with the Kings when he averaged 12.1 points per contest.

McLemore was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft by the Kings after a standout collegiate career at Kansas, and while he has come nowhere close to living up to that billing, he has been a solid offensive contributor off the bench.

In 464 career regular-season games with the Kings, Memphis Grizzlies and Rockets, McLemore owns averages of 8.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.4 three-pointers made, while shooting 41.8 percent from the floor and 36.2 percent from long distance.

Making McLemore even more attractive to contenders is the fact that he becomes a free agent after the season, meaning no long-term commitment has to be made.

There is essentially no reason for the Rockets to keep McLemore if they can get something in return for him, even if it is only a second-round pick.

Because of that, it is fair to expect that he will be donning new colors by March 25.