Battier, Brooks revisited

At the time of last winter’s deadline, there was mixed reaction on the Rockets’ trading of Aaron Brooks and Shane Battier.  Both players were starters and integral components of the franchise’s last playoff team, yet both were slated to become free agents this summer; the club was not expected to retain either player’s services.

Last week’s draft filled in the missing pieces of those trades, allowing for evaluation:

From the Battier trade came Hasheem Thabeet and Memphis’ 2013 pick.

From the Brooks trade came Goran Dragic and the #23 pick in this year’s draft.

The team traded the #23 and the Memphis pick for this year’s #20 (selecting Donatas Motiejunas), Minnesota’s 2nd round pick in 2012, Jonny Flynn (the #6 overall pick in 2009), and the opportunity to dump the remaining $10million on Brad Miller’s contract.

If you’re still following along, Daryl Morey essentially traded half a season of Aaron Brooks and Shane Battier for Goran Dragic, Hasheem Thabeet, Donatas Motiejunas, Jonny Flynn, a likely high 2nd rounder, and some cap relief by expunging the poison pill that was Brad Miller’s contract.

Regardless of whether Thabeet ever pans out (he likely will not), the timeline above is yet another example of Morey creating assets out of nothing.  Had he complacently held on to Battier and Brooks, the team would have less talent in the pipeline, would have lost Battier for nothing, and likely would have been forced to overpay to retain the restricted Brooks [the point guard was expected to command at least $8million annually; the comparably productive Dragic is on the books for only $2million next season] or lost him outright as well.

That’s smart management and the Rockets’ future is brighter because of it.






About the author: Rahat Huq is a lawyer in real life and the founder and editor-in-chief of Red94.net.

in essays
  • Jeby

    Morey’s like the basketball management Bobby Fischer. Always thinking three moves ahead. 

  • Easy

    The Brooks trade was a good deal right off the bat. Dragic+#20 > Brooks.

    The Battier trade was strictly “asset” management. It didn’t improve the team, like so many have claimed with the “addition by subtraction” argument. (I believe the Rockets got a little worse without Battier, and Memphis got a little better with him. The improvement after the trades was a combination of the subtraction of Brooks, better chemistry, and better concentration.) They knew they wouldn’t be able to afford him on the FA market. So they got something out of him before he walked.

  • RFWC

    “Daryl Morey essentially traded half a season of Aaron Brooks and Shane Battier (AND #23 in 2011) for Goran Dragic, Hasheem Thabeet, Donatas Motiejunas, Jonny Flynn, a likely high 2nd rounder, and some cap relief by expunging the poison pill that was Brad Miller’s contract.”

    My point exactly.

    NBA team’s downfalls have been these players who perform well on ‘pay me’ years and then sit around a few more to get paid for the one year of unexpected production (GM’s playing the role of ‘sucker…’.) Biedrins is one of those guys. GS Warrior GM’s have been the classic lollipop faces.

    Karl Marx’s (and Gandi’s) eternal idea on classic struggle between proletariat and the bourgeoisie plays out on the stage of NBA.  There are always exceptions… LeBron and MJ.

  • RFWC

    Will GM DM find that needle in the haystack, the quintessential professional who will strive to be the best and not pander to the contract shenanigans?  How does one find that?  The heart of a champion? Probably by kissing alot of frogs as he is doing now…

  • BradlohausHOF

    I hope Kyle Lowry isnt secretly on the block…

  • RFWC

    I think all Rockets players are on the block, for the right price. Players with lower salaries will have more trade value. More productive players will have more trade value, obviously.

    I doubt it’s that easy to replace Lowry. His on court performance may be replaceable, but his quiet confidence, and the fact he’s been on the bench and willing to defer to AB time and time again last year without pouting, is a quality that is also very difficult to find in the NBA.  His presence is a positive reminder to the other players — keep busting your butt and your time will come, if you’re truly meant to be a star.

    Lowry exceeds his worth when you measure him by $$ or his off-court demeanor.  You won’t see Lowery moved unless someone the Rockets really covets comes along — or if Dragic and Flynn develops so nicely that you had to move him.  Very unlikely.

    Speaking of AB, can you imagine if the Lakers wanted him? It would solve some of their problem against small quick guards.  That was part of his trade value.  You got a Laker killer. It’s interesting that the Lakers have make guys like AB and JJ Barea valuable.  

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