Huq’s Pen: Rockets acquire Dragic, Thabeet

A lot of thoughts right now.  First off, today has been one of the worst days in the history of Red94.  The trade deadline–the biggest day of the NBA season–and the server decides to go out.  I’m working to get this situation fixed so I apologize for all of the problems this week.  This was downright embarrassing.

Onto the trades: I wrote earlier this morning of my thoughts on what was then just a rumor in the Battier-Thabeet swap.  I like it.  Shane was a guy who was out the door this summer, most likely, so it’s a plus to get anything out of him.  Yes, we’re out of the playoff race, and yes, this wasn’t the mega-blockbuster that had Shane and 3/4 of our roster going to NOLA for CP3, but scenarios like that were wholly unrealistic to begin with.  With this deal, you net a first round pick, at some point, and take a flier on a guy in Thabeet who could have impact at some point.  Wading around the internets the past few hours, I know the impression on Thabeet is not high at all (as I gather, people would be more excited if I was suiting up at the ‘5’ than Hasheem), but I stand by my assessment of his play from last season: he can be a force.  Is that likely?  Of course not.  If anything, it’s a stretch.  But for this cost, it’s worth the gamble, everyday.  Holding onto Shane provided nothing past sentimental value.

I feel similarly about the Dragic-Brooks deal.  With Aaron regressing this season, you landed a player on par with regard to talent, netted a draft pick, and saved yourself the headache of free agency this summer.  You basically traded AB for AB and bought yourself time.  (In fact, both of these deals can essentially be seen as such: buying time by trading assets set to diminish, and recouping value not superior, but preservative of original value; in essence, Morey slightly added to the war chest without hurting himself.)

I know there’s a level of frustration out there regarding these deals, but I don’t know what else you can do. Everyone wants the superstar or the panic deal, but instead just receives the “next summer” mantra.  How long can a consumer-base stay patient?

I don’t know what else Morey could have done, honestly.  They just didn’t have what it took to land a superstar, and were already dealt a sour hand with the Yao/McGrady mess.  To his credit, he has not panicked, but it’s difficult to see any light at the end of this tunnel.  To add insult to injury, it didn’t help matters that guys like Hill, Brooks, and Budinger all actually regressed this season…

I guess you could say though that the fan base really can’t get any more apathetic than it already is, so there’s little incentive for Morey to completely panic.

-Another thought: if going young, why not trade Martin and Scola as well?  Or was the point not necessarily to go young, but rather to just preserve value by adding youth?  Either way, it seems futile to keep Scola around on this squad.  My guess is that there just weren’t any good offers on that front.

Final note is on Battier, a guy who, every time I walked into that lockeroom, evoked the thought and dread of the day of his departure.  Shane, you will be missed, and there was so much more left of you I wanted to inquire.  Battier was the entire symbol of an era that now seems to be over and the figurehead of the most controversial trade in Rockets history.






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

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  • Virginian Rockets Fan

    Huq, Is it the Rudy Gay trade that was controversial or this current trade? Because I don’t think that either was too controversial. Anyways, I think there are some good building blocks. I am excited to see what starting Budinger with TWill backing up will do. My guess is the Rox will score more and give up even more… Also, any word on the protections on the picks?

  • The server going down was unbelievably frustrating because all i could get out of espn were these incoherent tweets like “wallace gone”; wtf is that supposed to mean.

    I like the moves, I watched Thabeet at UCONN and i like what i saw. He didn’t meet my expectations in the NBA but the grizzlies always came off as a dysfunctional team.

    Who is going to start at the 3 now? Chase? Is he ready for something like that?

    I always thought Dragic was a decent backup, Brooks was disintegrating this season and I’m glad hes gone.

  • zen

    What might have been…

    Gerald Wallace could have been had for an expiring and a pick. Giving up Jeffries would have cost nothing and gained an all-star. As for the pick, you’d have to believe it would get you a better talent than Gerald Wallace. Looking at this draft, there’s only 2 or 3 guys that have that and Houston won’t be picking first or second.

    Houston needs a good defensive center, Boston wants an elite wing defender that can shoot, why didn’t Battier for Perkins (and a spare part here or there) happen? There were a few stories about Boston specifically wanting Shane too.

    Morey reminds me of Chuck Hayes today. He’s likeable, and a hard worker. He studies his craft and gives it his best, but at the end of the day just doesn’t take home any trophies. It seemed within reach to gain Wallace and Perkins and still have the Yao money to offer Chris Paul or Deron Williams next year. So close…

  • Randyao

    as for Gerald Wallace, he’s almost turning 30, and relies on athleticism more than anyone else in the league. Once he ages even a few more month, and that athleticism dwindles, all maybe over. That may be partly the reason why Michael Jordon was willing to part with Wallace’s huge contract with an expiring/pick.

  • Randyao

    Also, i really doubt the celtics would trade perkins for battier. They did trade perkins for jeff green, who is much younger and part of their future plan to rebuild after the big 3 retires. Battier does not offer the talent and youth Green gives. But if they did trade, that would be a real miracle.

  • HChamp

    Wallace was traded for two young reserves and two first round picks i believe

  • Anonymous

    I wouldn’t exactly call Pryzbilla young, but I guess Cunningham fits the bill. What with Charlotte shipping out Mohammed as well (OKC…just wow), they were always going to need a big man. Not like we’ve got any of those going spare…

  • Daren

    I wasn’t thrilled to see Battier go, but you’re right, holding onto him would be purely sentimental. Had we the superstar we needed, he would be ideal on the wing.

    I’ve seen mixed reviews of Thabeet. On the one hand, he did well in college, but on the other, not so well in the pros. I just don’t know what to think of him – it’s almost like there isn’t enough data.

    The Brooks/Dragic deal is definitely a wash, both of these guys are quick and can score in bundles.

    Any inside news on the picks that Morey acquired? Are they protected, top 15?

  • Stephen

    Suns is lottery protected. If Suns make Play-Offs Rockets get their 2011 First,if not Hou gets Orlando 2011 First from a previous trade.
    Memphis starts in 2013 and is Lottery protected and rolls over protection.

    As someone who would have tried to trade Martin for expiring/TPE and a First,I agree w/trading Battier and Brooks for Firsts. BUT,I don’t like taking back salaries that essentially kill Houston’s cap room this Summer.
    To put it in simplest terms,would anyone here pay Thabeet $5.1mil+ as a FA?
    Unless he can magically improve over next 8 months,the Rockets will have $9.8mil+ tied up in back-up Cs.(If you think Hill is a C,that’s $12.7mil+ in back-up Cs. Wonder how much Gasol and Jordan will get?)
    The Rockets have swapped Ish Smith’s $789,000 contract for Dragic’s $2.1.
    The team will have some $48mil in salaries,w/out including the Draft picks and w/out re-signing Chuck. If the team re-signs Chuck for some $2-3mil and another $2mil in Draft pick salary,the team is around $52mil,no starting C and a likely Cap of $55-56mil.
    And teams that refused to trade a C at the deadline are going to want to trade them before the season starts?

    And a 2013 for Battier? Seriously,3 Drafts down the road,at the earliest?
    We’ll have to see how it all plays out,but right now not too happy about what the team ended up with.
    If Morey had known of Memphis/Chicago talks he could have prob put together a Mayo,D.Carroll to Chi…Battier,Brewer to Memphis…Thabeet to Hou using Ariza TPE…and a 2013 whatever Chi First to Memphis and Charlotte 2012 First to Hou. Oh well

  • Stephen

    Suns is lottery protected. If Suns make Play-Offs Rockets get their 2011 First,if not Hou gets Orlando 2011 First from a previous trade.
    Memphis starts in 2013 and is Lottery protected and rolls over protection.

    As someone who would have tried to trade Martin for expiring/TPE and a First,I agree w/trading Battier and Brooks for Firsts. BUT,I don’t like taking back salaries that essentially kill Houston’s cap room this Summer.
    To put it in simplest terms,would anyone here pay Thabeet $5.1mil+ as a FA?
    Unless he can magically improve over next 8 months,the Rockets will have $9.8mil+ tied up in back-up Cs.(If you think Hill is a C,that’s $12.7mil+ in back-up Cs. Wonder how much Gasol and Jordan will get?)
    The Rockets have swapped Ish Smith’s $789,000 contract for Dragic’s $2.1.
    The team will have some $48mil in salaries,w/out including the Draft picks and w/out re-signing Chuck. If the team re-signs Chuck for some $2-3mil and another $2mil in Draft pick salary,the team is around $52mil,no starting C and a likely Cap of $55-56mil.
    And teams that refused to trade a C at the deadline are going to want to trade them before the season starts?

    And a 2013 for Battier? Seriously,3 Drafts down the road,at the earliest?
    We’ll have to see how it all plays out,but right now not too happy about what the team ended up with.
    If Morey had known of Memphis/Chicago talks he could have prob put together a Mayo,D.Carroll to Chi…Battier,Brewer to Memphis…Thabeet to Hou using Ariza TPE…and a 2013 whatever Chi First to Memphis and Charlotte 2012 First to Hou. Oh well

  • randy

    thanks for providing the lottery information. And also, I think there is a possibility that Thabeet “can magically improve the next 8 months”, since he never got any playing time in MEM. Remember the Jordon Hill situation? He improved over night (his value rather), when he was given the minutes.

  • Jodorowsky

    Dont know if its been posted anywhere on here but thought this was interesting http://nba.fanhouse.com/2011/02/24/grizzlies-owner-heisley-admits-thabeet-trade-could-come-back-to/

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  • Anonymous

    Morey knew good and well that Rockets fans were not going to allow him to quietly stand pat this trade season. I feel that he made the best decision based on what was available to him. We now have a plethora of first round picks coming our way in the next few years, what is the probability of him being able to combine and swap them for a single, way earlier pick? Or use these picks in trades in the offseason? Thabeet is definitely a wild card in the league, with a little more attention paid to his development I think he can be an effective center, getting rebounds, blocking shots, putbacks, etc… Dragic is a good pick up, because the kid doesn’t mind coming off the bench. He’s also 6’3″ adding +5″ to our previous backup PG, if he’s able to be taught some defense to go along with what seems like decent offensive skills, then he’s definitely an upgrade IMO. It all comes down to getting something for something rather than losing something and getting nothing this summer.

  • Anonymous

    Morey knew good and well that Rockets fans were not going to allow him to quietly stand pat this trade season. I feel that he made the best decision based on what was available to him. We now have a plethora of first round picks coming our way in the next few years, what is the probability of him being able to combine and swap them for a single, way earlier pick? Or use these picks in trades in the offseason? Thabeet is definitely a wild card in the league, with a little more attention paid to his development I think he can be an effective center, getting rebounds, blocking shots, putbacks, etc… Dragic is a good pick up, because the kid doesn’t mind coming off the bench. He’s also 6’3″ adding +5″ to our previous backup PG, if he’s able to be taught some defense to go along with what seems like decent offensive skills, then he’s definitely an upgrade IMO. It all comes down to getting something for something rather than losing something and getting nothing this summer.

  • Jibs

    Most controversial trade? How about for Barkley – the trade that ended Clutch City?

  • Chris_L

    Controversial? Do you think before you form opinions, Rahat?

  • Anonymous

    You’re disagreeing with the statement that the Battier-Gay trade was controversial?

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