Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey is at it again. While the sports world was still up in chatter about the Kevin Love trade, the reports of Rajon Rondo demanding a trade, and even USA Basketball, the Houston Rockets quietly struck a deal with the Sacramento Kings and acquired veteran shooting guard Jason Terry in exchange for a package of non-guaranteed contracts that included Alonzo Gee.
While most people would label this trade as insignificant at first glance, it’s quite the opposite. I would even venture to say this trade could potentially be monumental in dictating the Rockets future. Why is this? While Jason Terry isn’t what he used to be, he does provide one of the things the Rockets have been looking to get for ages – veteran leadership. This is highly invaluable to a locker room and bench, especially to a bench filled with young guards like Ishmael Smith, Isaiah Canaan, Troy Daniels, and Nick Johnson. But something else also came out of this trade.
In the deal Morey was able to swipe away two 2nd-round draft picks. This is what makes the deal a steal. Houston, you have a very clever GM in Daryl Morey and it’s in moments like this where we tend to take him for granted. Draft picks are possibly the best trade assets aside from star talent and the fact that Morey was able to collect two of them in this deal for some non-guaranteed contracts is quite simply, amazing. Adding Jason Terry to this roster is just a bonus.
What does this mean for the Rockets’ future? Well, typically teams who are trying to trade their star player look for teams that are stockpiled with draft picks and young players to trade with. The Houston Rockets now fall perfectly into this category after this trade. They now hold the Pelicans protected pick, these two 2nd rounders, their own second round pick, and a bunch of young players with upside along with Terrence Jones and Patrick Beverley who they might have to part ways with if they want to complete a deal. Teams that come to mind that would be great trade partners with the Rockets are the Phoenix Suns and the Boston Celtics.
Phoenix is no stranger to stockpiling on draft picks. They’ve done it before and it wouldn’t be hard to see them do it again for the price of one of their young point guards – Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic. The way the salary cap and roster is looking on Phoenix, they will only be able to afford to keep one of the young stars. Although Houston hasn’t been formally linked to any rumors surrounding Bledsoe or Dragic, it wouldn’t be a surprise to if they take advantage of a hectic situation in Phoenix. They’ve done it in the past with similar contract disputes with a young James Harden in Oklahoma City.
There is also the very interesting matter in regards to Rajon Rondo. This past Sunday a report broke about Rondo’s demand to be traded. Every GM in the league took note of this but only one GM took action about it. Isn’t it very convenient how the Jason Terry deal was completed the same day the report about Rondo demanding a trade broke? I guarantee you this was no coincidence. Daryl Morey is a crafty devil and seemingly uneven trades seem to be his forte but the timing of this deal is just too close to call this a mere coincidence.
The Rockets have done this very same thing in the past when Dwight Howard demanded to be traded out of Orlando. They flipped players for draft picks and stockpiled on trade assets in an attempt to woo Orlando. Although that trade didn’t happen, they did complete one of the best deals of the decade when they turned all those assets into James Harden.
Danny Ainge is no fool. He paid very close attention to the Jason Terry trade and when he saw those draft picks turn over to the Houston Rockets, he took very close note. Previously, the thing that was holding any deal back between the two parties was Chandler Parsons. He’s gone now and so are the other two people the Rockets were offering for the four time all-star. Asik is going to enjoy a starting role alongside Anthony Davis in New Orleans next season and Jeremy Lin is going to do the same alongside Kobe in Los Angeles.
However, the Rockets still have these newly acquired draft picks going for them. They are also taking advantage of the market for a point guard. It seems like every team in the league has a capable starting point guard except for a handful and out of those handful of teams, the Rockets may be the ones calling the shots.
With all that being said, a trade may be eminent for the future of the Rockets. That doesn’t necessarily mean before the season starts however. That deal may happen at the trade deadline for all we know. It wouldn’t be surprising for Danny Ainge to wait that long to let Rondo’s value go up after his ACL injury. Phoenix may have the luxury to wait that long because they are in no means in a hurry to sign Bledsoe to a ludicrous contract or trade Dragic immediately.
Until, a trade opportunity presents itself, Daryl Morey is watching over these situations like a patient owl. And when the opportunity presents itself, Morey will swoop in and take advantage of any bad situation like the sly vulture he is. Until then, the plot continues to thicken.
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