Fake Trade Deadline Day

Clutchfans has reported, via Twitter, that the league has informed the Rockets that the deadline to receive re-tradeable players is actually tomorrow, so its unclear at the moment when this thing is going to happen.  But still, I wanted to use this headline and wouldn’t have been able to if I waited for tomorrow and they traded Asik today.  So there you have it.

A couple of things: From my interactions with some of you on Twitter, it seems many haven’t been watching Morey very closely over the past few years.  This rumored Lee, Bass, pick deal, in its current manifestation, should be dubbed the ‘Anti-Morey deal’ because it reeks of everything Morey, a highly principled manager, has been loath to do during his tenure.  Trade away the best player in a deal without getting back actual value?  Check.  Take on long-term salary?  Check.  Acquire players with presumable ‘immediate’ fit but little ‘liquidity’ value?  Check.  Hell, Morey is the same guy that refused to give his very best player at the time, Goran Dragic, a player option, simply because of his stance on long-term flexibility…he let the guy walk!  And you would have me believe he’s going to take on Courtney Lee for three more years just because “we need perimeter defense” and “aren’t getting anything from Asik anyway”…?  You’re missing the big picture.

Reader RollingWave points out that its questionable whether Bass would even represent an upgrade considering that Omri Casspi leads the team in +/-.  But even setting that aside, the point is that this just isn’t Daryl Morey’s style.  He doesn’t panic, he wouldn’t trade a guy just because said guy wants out (see: Martin, Kevin), and he certainly doesn’t subscribe to the “well, we’re not getting anything from player X right now so we might as well take this crap deal right now” train of thought.  Guys like Bass and Lee are of a mold of player that Morey plucks from the scrap heap for dimes; he doesn’t deal special talents for them at exorbitant lengths.

All of the above is why I’m convinced this leaked report is inaccurate and we’ll see a surprise either today or tomorrow.  I think you’ll see them either do a different deal altogether, you’ll see this same deal without Lee, or they’ll get two draft picks.  But I’d just be absolutely floored if Morey, knowing what we know of how we works, took this deal in its current form.  We’ll see.

in columns


Houston got a solid win with a balanced offensive attack.  Everyone shot the ball well, 53% for the team, and the game was in hand after a 15 to 1 run to end the third quarter.  That run was propelled by the second team and Casspi especially.  In the first half of the third quarter it looked like the Rockets were going to let the Bulls back into the game.  But, the Bulls went cold and didn’t score a field goal for six minutes.

It was nice to see a game that went into the fourth quarter with the starters on the bench and McHale having the option to sit them a little more than normal. Only Parsons was on the court in the fourth quarter until the Bulls closed it to 14 with 6:47 left in the game and McHale put all the starters back in.  He pulled all the starters with over two minutes to go as the Rockets had one of their easier victories of the year.  Even Brewer got in the game and scored.

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Multiple sources have now come out and confirmed that the latest manifestation of an Omer Asik deal would include Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee, and a draft pick with the two sides currently haggling over which pick would be sent to Houston; reportedly, other teams have dropped out of discussions.

The key on this deal from the earlier Berger piece, for me:

But that potential exchange struck rival GMs as strange, considering the lack of market there would be for Bass and Lee in future trades. Houston wants to fulfill Asik’s trade request by Thursday so any players taken back could be repackaged in other deals before the Feb. 20 deadline.

“No one wants Lee or Bass on a third team or later deal,” one executive said. “They make more than their skill set.”

Bass and Lee are both solid players who would upgrade this team from its current state and fill some of its biggest holes (frontcourt depth, perimeter defense).  But neither are exactly assets that could later be repackaged; Lee, in particular, has a gruesome deal which extends into 2016.  And of course, both players are backups.  It doesn’t really fit the Daryl Morey MO to not only give up the best player in a trade for less value but also, to take back a long-term contract.  But I guess that is the situation Omer Asik has put the Rockets front office in.  If it were me, I would just hold onto Asik.  If your haul is Bass and Lee, two guys who can’t be flipped (per Berger), why the rush to trade Asik by the 19th?  You might as well just hold onto him until the deadline and see what happens.  I highly doubt he’s going to continue this fake injury charade for that long, even if unhappy.

Still, this is Morey, and he never gets fleeced, so we just need to wait and see what happens.  But that fact itself is what makes this whole thing so odd.

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