The Nets were ready to cut their losses and get another first-round pick. If Williams can realize his potential, the Rockets will love this deal.
The issues are not the same, but it is the same hope they have for Jordan Hill, who has tools to bring far greater return than what they gave up to get him. Same with their interest in Anthony Randolph, who is even younger and like Hill in New York last season, got banished to a bench.
The Knicks wanted their pick back for Randolph and the Rockets were not going to give them that since it is not lottery protected beyond the first pick. The Knicks don’t appear headed back to the lottery, but you never know how an injury and a few bouncing ping pong balls could unexpectedly change things. Daryl Morey said a few years ago that he would never trade a pick without lottery protection. That apparently includes trading someone else’s pick.
It’s unclear here whether this was an either/or or if the team has interest in adding both Williams and Randolph. I’m really hoping it’s the latter as that would really go a long way towards rebuilding while allowing them to not abandon this season’s hopes entirely.
Regardless, this will get really interesting as we approach the deadline just simply because the Knicks really need that pick to match New Jersey’s offer [for Carmelo.] I wonder what sweetening of the pot it would take to get Daryl to back off his stance (of not trading picks without lottery protection.) Assuming the framework of any ‘Melo deal would be Curry+Galo+draft picks+’x’ with ‘x’ being any one of Douglas, Fields, and Wilson Chandler, would Daryl agree to a trade of the pick for Randolph plus one of the aforementioned three? If it was Fields, most likely, but then again, Fields would probably be needed to get Denver to agree. Would the Knicks agree to give up two parts to Houston if that’s what landed them Carmelo? You had better believe it. On the other hand, if it became clear that New Jersey stood little chance in the bidding, maybe Daryl would soften and take what he could get, seeing the writing on the wall. There are so many different variables in this thing that it can make your head spin, but one thing is clear: things will get very interesting as we approach February and all because of Ted Stepian.
If landing Randolph, the Rockets would have Brooks, Lowry, Lee, Williams, Budinger, Randolph, Hill, and Patterson all as under-26 talent. You would be banking on Randolph and Williams to emerge while Scola/Yao/Brooks kept you competitive in the meantime.
It would be tempting to go the nuclear route, trading Scola, letting Yao walk (he’d never be traded), and starting clean with a fresh slate of young talent. Either way, if compiling young talent, I feel more strongly than ever that Battier and Hayes must be retained at all costs. These youth movements almost always inevitably fail without veteran leadership.
There are so many directions this team can take, so many possible permutations, that we will just have to wait and see what ultimately happens.