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.