Can the Rockets get even better following their hot start after the departure of James Harden? Here are some possible Houston Rockets trades to make them even better.
The Rockets are currently on a six game win streak, most recently beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 136-106. After the Houston Rockets traded James Harden and Russell Westbrook, many believed the Rockets were going into a tanking stage. The Rockets now sit at 10-9, good enough for the 8th seed in the Western Conference. However, they are only one game back in the loss column of the fifth seeded Denver Nuggets.
Head Coach Stephen Silas and General Manager Rafael Stone are now tasked to figure out how to improve this roster moving forward, as well as what direction the team should take. As the Rockets are now fully healthy, the holes on their team have become more evident. Here are three Houston Rockets trades that I think can improve their roster, both in the short term and the long term.
1. Houston Rockets Trades: Ben McLemore + Two First Round Picks to the Orlando Magic for Mo Bamba
The Rockets are in desperate need or more size. Houston currently has three players on its roster taller than 6’6″ and only two of them are in the rotation. With DeMarcus Cousins struggling with athleticism and not being able to defend effectively in drop coverage, the Rockets should look to find a more mobile big for certain matchups to backup Christian Wood. Enter Mohamed Bamba out of the University of Texas. Bamba is out of rotation in Orlando and has been since he got there. After being picked with the 6th overall pick in 2018, Bamba has started just one game in his career. However, he does a lot of the things that the Rockets need.
Bamba is a career 32.8% three-point shooter, and currently boasts a DREB% of 32.5%. Last season, he managed to rank top 20 in total blocks, despite coming off the bench. Bamba would provide the Rockets with much needed rim protection. At only 22 years old, he also fits the bill of being a young player to pair with Christian Wood in the future. With Ben McLemore out of rotation, the Rockets could package McLemore, a terrific three-point specialist (which Orlando has none of), as well as two protected first rounders for the out of rotation big man.
Offer: Ben McLemore, 2022 Bucks protected 1st, 2023 Wizards protected 1st for Mo Bamba
2. Houston Rockets Trade for Bulls Forward Thaddeus Young
Thad Young does not fit the bill of being a young acquisition who can be a part of the Rockets future. Young, 32, is now in his 14th season and still has another year on his contract. What he does give the Rockets, is a skilled big man who can do it all.
Young is an incredible passer for his size, averaging 4.4 assists per game off the bench this season. Per cleaningtheglass.com, he ranks in the 95th percentile in AST% and the 98th percentile in assist to usage ratio among all bigs.
While not an incredible shooter, Young has proven to be a respectable player from deep, shooting above 30% the last four seasons. While his defense leaves a bit to be desired, his ability to act as a pivot passer in an action offense would be key to improving the Rockets offense.
With Lauri Markkanen and Otto Porter Jr hitting the free agency market this summer, the Bulls could be strapped cash wise and could be looking to pick up expiring deals.
Offer: Dante Exum, Ben McLemore, 2021 Portland 1st for Thaddeus Young
3. Houston Rockets Swap Dante Exum for Kings’ Guard Cory Joseph
Cory Joseph is another vet that could help the Houston Rockets instantly. With the Rockets lacking playmakers when John Wall sits or does not play games, Joseph would have an important role to play in keeping the second unit afloat. The Kings have a special relationship with the Rockets, as current Kings GM Monte McNair was a part of the Houston Rockets front office for 13 years. With the Kings likely being on the outside of the playoffs again, they may be willing to give the Rockets a decent deal on the veteran point guard.
Joseph is a decent all-around point guard and has a lot of playoff experience, winning a ring with the 2014 San Antonio Spurs and playing contributing minutes in both Toronto and Indiana. With Joseph also expiring, the Rockets may be able to do a swap of expiring point guards. Adding veteran leadership with Cory Joseph and giving the Kings a young guard in Dante Exum.
Offer: Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs for Cory Joseph
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