The rumors are swirling at a frantic speed and by now, you’ve heard all the names.  Thad Young, Spencer Hawes, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Paul Millsap, and draft picks held by the Charlotte Bobcats.  What would be the best haul?  Thad Young and Jeff Green seem to be out because of the length of each player’s respective deal.  Spencer Hawes would seem to be coming back in any deal, just because he stands to seem like the best backup big on the market and has an expiring contract to boot.  And Millsap is the most underrated player in the league (check out his RAPM) with maybe the best contract out there – slide him into that lineup next to Howard and you could have something scary; but it seems, from reports, that the Hawks are wary of making a deal.

Would you rather have the picks or Millsap?  What can you get with the picks and how difficult would it be to get them?  For instance, as I’ve been speculating on Twitter for the past hour or so, what would it take to get the Timberwolves to bite on a Kevin Love offer?  If they’re forced to trade Love, I don’t see anyone beating out a package of Terrence Jones + 3 picks + (salary filler).  Those three picks would presumably be two acquired through the Asik deal and then one of the Rockets’ own.  I just don’t know if I could see a more attractive offer out there considering young prospects and picks is what teams target in these type of deals, especially with Jones’ recent emergence.  Then again, though, a big component of that Harden trade was the fact that the Toronto pick was guaranteed lottery.  If you don’t think that package is enough to get Love, then maybe you just prefer Millsap in the Omer deal over the picks?

And can you even get two picks?  I think everyone would agree that in this three-way that is about to happen, you will be able to get Spencer Hawes and at least one draft pick.  But can you get two?  And what would it take to get two?  Can you find someone to give you a draft pick for Jeremy Lin while taking back one of their bad contracts?  If that’s the case, I’d throw him in there too.  Again though, it’s extremely risky to blow up this team and be left holding picks that aren’t exactly flippable.  You have to be sure that that new package can get you a star at the deadline.

And lastly, what is the thinking on Jones?  Is he the future or are you trying to replace him with Millsap or, gulp, Love?  Jones has looked tremendous but it’s extremely difficult to win a championship with young players, especially frontcourt starters.  All of the other true contenders have veteran cores.  The Rockets’ only real relevant veteran is Dwight Howard; even Harden is still pretty new at his role.

in musings


Chicago Bulls @ Houston Rockets on 12/17/13

In hindsight, the Rockets’ 2012/13 season was a blissful respite from the injury plague. Mostly healthy throughout the regular season, they were able to exceed expectations on the way to a playoff berth no-expected. This year the bug is back and putting a damper on the franchise’s most promising season in years, with several players struggling to fight off niggles. But even in times such as this, it should only take one look at gaping hole in the Chicago’s point guard rotation to have the Rockets counting their blessings. Thanks to the absence of Derrick Rose, the Bulls have dropped from being a title contender to being part of the morass of mediocrity that is the middle of the Eastern Conference. It’s an object lesson that someone always has it worse than you.

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in game coverage


Huq’s Pens: Odds and ends before it happens

  • This piece from Ken Berger had some interesting tidbits, namely that the Rockets are open to dealing Jeremy Lin.  The cited sentiment from Hawks general manager Danny Ferry also was enlightening.  More on that later.
  • One of my trusted moderators, John Gold, made a compelling case for Rondo which has me leaning towards the dark side.  As I just stated in my last piece, with as underwhelming as most of these reported Asik packages have been, part of me is hoping the team comes away with Rondo, despite my belief he’d be a terrible fit.  Even though my latest at the mothership was a 1,000 word tome as to how only basketball matters now, it’s just not Daryl Morey’s MO to settle for 50 cents on the dollar like this.  As bad a fit Rondo would be, he represents full value for Omer Asik and an asset that could easily be flipped along elsewhere in a later deal.
  • And while you had him, you could at least try and see if it works.  I don’t think it would work.  But this is a guy who was the lead dog of a team that featured three future hall of famers.  He earned their respect and anchored their offense.  Rondo would instill instant accountability to a team with guys that at times, seem like chickens with their heads cut off.  But again, I just can’t see it working…not with James Harden in this lineup.  He came here to be the man and to have the ball in his hands at the end of games so that he can step back and take bad shots with a hand in his face (can you tell the honeymoon is over?)…he’s not giving that up.  Some have pointed towards Harden’s coexistence with Russell Westbrook as proof that such a pairing with Rondo could work.  In response, I’d have to say that that dynamic was the stuff of a different hierarchy and at a time when Harden was just happy to be getting on the court (with Jeff Green gone) and getting a real chance.  Now he’s the man, he has the money, he has the beard, and he wants the ball.

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in columns

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