Analysts: Houston Rockets won at the NBA trade deadline
For the 2022-23 NBA season, the Houston Rockets brand and winning won’t be thought of much in the same sentence. The Rockets currently have the league’s worst record, with 13 wins coming a few days away from the beginning of March. However, most analysts agree the Rockets did one thing right this season.
The Rockets needed to look toward the future at the trade deadline. The current roster has no chance of getting out of the NBA’s basement. Eric Gordon is a player that could be valuable for a team wanting to win this summer. And the Rockets cashed in Gordon for future prosperity.
CBS praises the Rockets for their 2021 trade
Sam Quinn with CBS Sports praised the James Harden trade deal by the Houston Rockets. Quinn considers the Rockets one of the NBA’s winners at the deadline, as the team was bolstered by the Brooklyn Nets blowing up their roster:
“When the Rockets initially traded for control of every Nets first-round pick between 2021 and 2027, they probably assumed that most of those picks were going to be relatively low. The upside of making such a trade with an older roster is that maybe, if things go right, that group will age out of contention and give you one or two very valuable picks at the end of the deal. Not even in Houston’s wildest fantasies could the Rockets have imagined Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving all leaving Brooklyn with five picks left to convey.
In fairness, Brooklyn’s 2023 first-round pick is owed to Houston through a swap. The Nets currently hold a 19.5-game lead over the Rockets in the standings, so nothing is likely to come of that swap. In 2024, however, the Rockets get Brooklyn’s pick outright. They do again in 2026, and they have swap rights in 2025 and 2027. That effectively gives the Rockets four chances to cash in on Brooklyn’s implosion.”
The Rockets have essentially doubled their chances of landing a top pick due to the Nets’ blowup.
ESPN liked the 2023 trade by the Rockets
Kevin Pelton with ESPN also liked the recent outcome of the Rockets trade in 2021. Pelton also appreciated what the Rockets did at this year’s trade NBA trade deadline, as the team added another first-round swap right:
“The Rockets made a couple of moves, adding second-rounders in a financially motivated deal with the Hawks and gaining swap rights on a first-round pick in exchange for dealing Gordon to the Clippers.
Still, the biggest move of the week for Houston was Durant’s trade request. Even if the suddenly deep Nets don’t seem likely to bottom out, the first-rounders the Rockets hold from Brooklyn in 2024 and 2026 — with swaps in 2025 and 2027 — have less downside with Durant elsewhere.”
This is an encouraging sign for the Houston Rockets
The Rockets should feel a lot better about their future after this February. The team has a young core of players that will have a chance to grow together. The Rockets have also secured enough draft help that they will be able to take advantage of opportunities to add more talent to that young core. The Rockets will be in a good position to add veteran leadership to that core and make a run at the playoffs soon.
Unfortunately, that won’t be an immediate fix. The Rockets will need to decide what they will do with their head coach as it pertains to this young team. Rockets head coach Stephen Silas is on the hot seat heading toward the end of the season. He doesn’t seem to get the best out of his young players. The Rockets will have to find an ambitious coach who has the patience to lead a transition from being a basement dweller to a ladder climber.