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2021 NBA Trade Deadline: What Direction Should the Houston Rockets Go?

As the NBA trade deadline approaches, the Houston Rockets are faced with a massive decision. The Rockets are currently on a 16 game losing streak and are the third worst team in the league record wise.

The Rockets front office has to decide whether they want to tank the rest of the season and try for a top draft pick or retool to attempt to attract talent in the offseason. It’s not an easy decision but GM Rafeal Stone has to make the executive decision sooner than later.

The Rockets are rumored to become sellers at the NBA trade deadline, attempting to trade away any and all assets to receive the maximum return. The names associated with the liquidation sale are All-Star guard Victor Oladipo, gritty veteran forward P.J. Tucker, and long range sniper Ben McLemore. Even with the injury history, guards Eric Gordon and superstar John Wall are rumored to end up with a change of scenery by the deadline.

There are an endless amounts of potential trades for the Rockets that have one foot out the door, with Victor Oladipo highlighting the cast.

NBA deadline
Houston Rockets guard Sterling Brown (0) and forward David Nwaba (2) celebrate their win over the San Antonio Spurs in an NBA basketball game in San Antonio, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Whether the front office executives are able to move the guys they want at the NBA trade deadline or not, the organization has to make it clear what direction the team is going into the future.

There is a consensus idea within the Rockets community to tank for top prospect, Cade Cunningham, “Fade for Cade,” but there are some risks to tanking. The front office is very aware that some players on the roster, like Christian Wood and John Wall,are not going to be very happy with a culture of losing basketball games.

The NBA trade deadline can give the Rockets an opportunity to tank for the future while also keeping guys happy that are currently on the roster happy and engaged. No one wants to play on a team that is spiraling into oblivion even if the future may possibly be bright.

Most NBA players know that draft picks are just a possibility and don’t always pan out like everyone thinks. Completely banking on a top prospect to change the dynamic of a franchise is a huge risk and lots of players don’t have the time nor do they want to stick around to find out how it all plays out.

A frustrated Coach Silas detailing the blowout loss to Memphis.

Laying out all the possible outcomes for the Rockets at the NBA trade deadline it is clear the Rockets need to move on from the old regime and start a new chapter of Rockets basketball. Coach Silas has all the tools to make this team a contender but the roster has to be suited to the playing style he warrants. The direction for the Rockets is apparent get younger and stockpile assets.

P.J. Tucker was great for the Rockets during his time in Houston, but the team decided to part ways with the veteran big, sending him, Rodions Kurucs, and the Bucks’ 2022 first-round pick to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for DJ Augustin, DJ Wilson, and a 2023 unprotected first-round pick.

Victor Oladipo is the other asset that needs to be moved in order for the Rockets to receive the most compensation. Oladipo is one of the most sought after players in the league approaching the NBA deadline and a trade can give the Rockets what they need in terms of potential draft capitol and young players to develop.


The NBA deadline is a very exciting time in the NBA season and most Rockets fans have been looking forward to this for awhile. No matter how they get it done the Rockets front office has to move in the direction of getting younger and hoarding assets.

If the “fade for Cade” happens organically then so be it but the main focus for this organization has to be the development of young talent and to have a huge cache of assets to use in potential moves down the line.

This is a different vibe around the organization who are used to being buyers at the deadline to bolster a contending roster but it’s also a very fun time to see the Rockets build a new state of success.

Coach Silas has done a masterful job of holding the team together through all the adversity and he quite frankly doesn’t deserve the mess he has been handed but he should definitely be able to see the fruits of his labor on the Rockets after the rebuild is finished and they are able to turn this ship around.

For more information on your favorite teams and players, visit OvertimeHeroics.net and follow me on twitter @young_eddo

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