After the Houston Rockets acquired James Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder, everyone knew that Daryl Morey wasn’t done trying to assemble another superstar, but according to USA Today, Morey says that the team is unlikely to make another big trade.
“Most likely, it’s not going to be through trade,” Morey told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. “Most likely, it’s going to be through the use of our cap room where we have max room this summer.” I think (the time between now and the deadline) is going to be quiet. Of course a year ago, if you would’ve said, ‘James Harden – what about him?’ I would’ve said, ‘No way. They won’t trade him.’ You never know. You stay opportunistic. But I would guess that this trade deadline is going to be quiet,” he said.
Of all the stars that could possibly be available at this trade deadline that fit what Houston is doing, Dwight Howard or Josh Smith, it’s unclear whether the Rockets have the assets to trade for them. Considering both the Atlanta Hawks and Los Angeles Lakers‘ needs, Omer Asik would be the center piece in a deal to either team. For LA, it’ll allow Pau Gasol to be the dominant post player while Omer mans the defense. In Atlanta’s case, it’ll be a chance to allow Al Horford to play what most call his natural position, the power forward.
Luckily for Houston, they don’t have to compromise talent for adding a superstar as they’ll have enough cap room to sign a player to a max contract over the summer. Based upon need and “star power,” here’s a list of players the Rockets could recruit this summer: Howard, Smith, Paul Millsap and Andre Iguodala (ETO).
If I’m the general manager of the Rockets, a Howard-Millsap-James Harden trio is the best combo. We’ve seen how Howard opens things up for stretch power forwards. Unlike the situation he’s currently in where his talents aren’t properly used, he’ll be surrounded by shooters and players that can open it up for Howard to get his easy points in the paint by dribble penetration. Remember those Hedo Turkoglu–Rashard Lewis pick and rolls that would result in ball movement and an easy dunk for Howard? Harden and Millsap could easily replicate that.
These actions won’t be able to be made until after the NBA season is over with, so for now with the trade deadline approaching, it’s likely that Houston will just stand pat and allow things to play out at a later date. But if someone comes knocking on their door, don’t expect them to not make a move that’ll make him a contender in the Western Conference for several years.