Jeremy Lin was out with back spasms. Terrence Jones had the flu.  James Harden sprained his ankle during the game.  Dwight Howard couldn’t hit a free throw (nor for that matter, could the Rockets as a whole).  Garcia and Casspi could not hit anything, and Greg Smith in his first game back after a month fouled out in 20 minutes.  It was that sort of a game, where while Houston started off strong, Sacramento took the lead in the 2nd quarter and everything from free throws to shooting to some interesting referee calls made things progressively worse as the game went on, resulting in the final dismal score.

[read more…]

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DwightLife – Chapter 8: Trade Partners

Dwight Howard’s arrival in Houston signals the arrival of one of the most dominant players in basketball, along with one of the most polarizing personalities in sports. Here at Red94, we are embracing the drama of Superman’s first season as a Rocket with a weekly column: “DwightLife.”

Amid all of the trade rumors about Omer Asik, it’s clear that a lot is at stake for the Houston Rockets. The same is true for Dwight Howard. The player the Rockets trade for could have a significant and immediate impact on Howard’s production, longevity, and legacy.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at several rumored trade targets as they relate to Howard’s game: Thaddeus Young, Paul Millsap and Anderson Varejao. I’ll be grading by position, outside shooting, usage rate, defensive impact, and future potential. Since Young and Millsap would presumably be brought on to replace Terrence Jones, let’s start by judging Jones by the same metrics. [read more…]

in columns

Feigen on the trade front:

“Morey would not discuss his plans, but a person with knowledge of the Rockets’ thinking said Morey set his Dec. 19 deadline in part because he knows he has an offer he is willing to take. Though things can change several times by Thursday, that individual said “it very likely will be a pretty complicated, three-way deal. There are a lot of moving parts.”

“Ideally, the Rockets hoped to pick up a player who can quickly step into the rotation and, one way or another, have the impact they hoped Asik would have. Less desirable but more likely, Morey would have to put together a package of players or picks for Asik, knowing that the mixed grill option is usually not as valuable as getting one stronger player, especially for a team now built to contend quickly.”

“With the emergence of Terrence Jones as the starting power forward, Morey is not determined to find a starter at the position. He hopes to come away with either a strong defensive wing who can catch-and-shoot, a power forward who can fill in as a backup center, or expiring contracts that come with first-round picks – or some combination of those assets.”

“According to individuals with knowledge of the talks, the Rockets do not have a deal in place but were greatly encouraged when trade talks intensified Dec. 6, so much so that the confidence that they would be ready to pull the trigger helped inspire the Dec. 19 “deadline” as much as needing a deal by then to be able to move players again this season.”

“As much as speculation has centered around Thad Young, if the Rockets are to do a deal with Philadelphia and former Rockets assistant GM Sam Hinkie, it is more likely to be a three-team deal in which the player the Sixers trade goes elsewhere.

The Rockets likely would want draft picks in a deal, and Hinkie is not expected to give those up. If the deal was for Young, the Rockets and Sixers would not have had to wait until Dec. 15. And if the Rockets were to try to get one of the Sixers players who don’t fit in Hinkie’s long-term plans, it would be more likely for Spencer Hawes, a range shooter who could play next to Dwight Howard or as his backup with Asik gone.”

My guess, at the moment, is a three-way with Omer going to the Sixers, Spencer Hawes coming back to Houston, Thad Young going somewhere else, and a pick or asset coming back to Houston from the third destination.  So who wants Thad Young?

in musings

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