The state of Houston’s assets

The season is half over, and the Rockets haven’t made a trade. Given how often general manager Daryl Morey makes moves at the deadline, every day seemingly brings us closer to the next shakeup in Houston. Now that we have about three months worth of experience and information under our belts, we can do a rundown of what each player, pick and asset is worth, both to the Rockets organization and to the league at large. Where does Houston stand in the trade world?

First things first: these are real people, not assets. Some people use the word assets, and like Daryl Morey, I never do. Now then, let’s talk about these assets. The simplest assets are the draft picks, as they have fewer moving parts than players (who are both assets and people). The Rockets have a fairly good spread of draft picks coming up, many of which are quite worthwhile.

The only outgoing pick for Houston is their second round pick for the upcoming draft, which probably has more value to Houston than to Philadelphia, to whom it was traded. Houston has every other of their own picks, and a small bounty of incoming picks to boot. They have two extra second rounders for this draft, three owed to them in the draft after that, and one last second round pick in 2017. That’s a lot of draft picks.

First round picks might be at a premium for this year, and having their own will help them in any trade. Morey and his front office value second round picks higher than most teams, and this actually might be bad, even if they’re exactly correct. In terms of value added to the team, that cavalcade of second round picks may be the least valued option out there. That’s the problem. Even if you’re sitting on a gold mine, someone has to believe they want the gold before you can get rich. A trade asset is only as good as the best offer, and without some first rounders to sweeten the pot we may see the Rockets need to give away a first rounder to make a deal work. Thankfully, the Rockets have their own, and are willing to make sacrifices if it will take them to the next level.

Here, however, are some sacrifices they will not make. Barring a trade for LeBron James or Kevin Durant, these players all mean too much to Houston’s core identity and basketball production to ever let go. James Harden and Dwight howard are the untouchables in the organization, and that seems unlikely to change any time soon.

Chandler Parsons is nearing that line, but instead sits on the unfortunate side of it with a few other players. He’s important to Houston due to his history and his increasing skill. He is, however, a victim of circumstance as a trade asset. His value is high at the moment due to the affordability of his contract, but as a piece, his value in Houston is far greater than what it would be elsewhere. He might be a nice asset, but don’t expect anything to happen there unless the prize is a top-ten player and Parsons is one of several players moved.

Ömer Aşık is the biggest trade piece the Rockets are likely to move, and he’s also one of the most cryptic. It’s unclear exactly what’s happening with Aşık at the moment, but the official report is that he’s still rehabbing from injury and having a hard time doing so. Whatever the case, this situation is not helping his trade value, and not helping the Rockets feel comfortable moving him. His value to the team is huge when he plays, and this is actually bad in a trade situation made worse by his trade requests. Other teams don’t see him as being worth anything near what Houston values him at, and Morey is willing to wait out this seeming lack of demand. Of course, many teams would love a player like Ömer Aşık, but few want him enough to give back the small fortune Morey would prefer. Every day he stays sidelined is another tick downwards in the eventual value of whatever they can get back for him, and that might be a disaster down the road.

Jeremy Lin occupies a similar space, just without the bad blood and injury rehab. he’s a great backup guard and a solid starting point guard for Houston, and most importantly he seems willing to accept either role. Lin is a great piece for Houston, but his contract, like Aşık’s, is a dealbreaker for many teams. When push comes to shove, teams are going to want a different point guard.

Patrick Beverley is a solid point guard, a decent shooter, a capable defender and a sparkplug in general. He’s also making less than a million dollars this year, has unguaranteed money to the tune of one million next year and is still only in his second year in the league. He’s a solid trade asset and would be easier to move or throw into a deal with another set of players than Jeremy Lin. If Ömer Aşık does get traded, don’t be surprised if Beverley goes with him.

Terrence Jones is in a strange position where Houston doesn’t really know what they have with him. He’s improving by leaps and bounds, but it’s not clear what his ceiling is. If his level of play improves slightly, he could command a sizeable price. If he regresses, it’s a very different story. Either way, the jury is very much still out, and neither side has much to gain by rocking the boat. Houston would like to see what he can become, and other teams typically don’t like to pick up question marks unless they’re in a gambling mode.

Isaiah Canaan and Robert Covington are still rookies. They won’t be offered up in trades and it’s unlikely anyone else will try to target them. Next year, things might be different, but this year they seem safe.

The rest of Houston’s pieces belong in a rather ignominious pile. Donatas Motiejunas, Francisco Garcia, Aaron Brooks, Omri Casspi and Greg Smith are all in the expendable backup category of players, relegating them to throw-ins in most trades. None of them has distinguished himself enough to warrant a real look, but none are really bad enough to say no to, barring the age and play of Garcia this season. These players may end up as a pot sweetener for a team looking to become more competitive next season.

Houston has a lot of assets, and they will be able to make a move sooner or later. It may not be the move we expect, and it may not initially seem to make sense, but soon, some of these assets who are players will be gone from Houston. And for the record, I still didn’t call them assets.

 

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Total comments: 19
  • Hockey the Harden Way says 5 months ago

    If Ömer Aşık does get traded, don’t be surprised if Beverley goes with him.

    I realize that an Asik trade seems imminent, but parting with Pat Beverley would be a HUGE mistake...

    Why? Several reasons...

    One, his skill set is both unique for a point guard (defense, offensive rebounding, just flat out disruptive to the opposing offense, a serviceable shooter), and a perfect fit for this Rockets team... And two, he is maybe the first starting point guard who truly enjoys playing under Coach McHale and the Morey system. Beverley has an attitude that makes you want to root for the guy...

    I just think that aside from Dwight Howard and Harden (and maybe Chandler Parsons), Beverley has had the biggest impact on the team winning this season.... We'd be making a big mistake if we were to let him go.

    I'm also a Lin fan, but in contrast to Beverley, Lin looks like a fish out of the water in the McHale/Morey environment. Sometimes fit on a specific team is more important than talent/potential... And with the Rockets' success this season, McHale ain't going away soon. If Lin could somehow be packaged with Asik, that would be the ideal move.
  • Bigtkirk says 5 months ago

    Rocketrick, the comment was not directed to your comment. It was meant for Forrest's observation in his post that "It’s unclear exactly what’s happening with Aşık at the moment, but the official report is that he’s still rehabbing from injury and having a hard time doing so. Whatever the case, . . . ." I'm unaware of any professional or team official with knowledge of Asik's injury to have stated or even suggested anything publicly other than Asik's injury is real and difficult to treat.

  • rocketrick says 5 months ago

    What is your basis for suggesting that Asik is a malingerer? Unless you have one, I recommend that you stop doing so because it detracts from the quality of your analysis.


    Not sure who you are asking your question of?

    I never said Asik was faking his injury or is a "malingerer".

    If your post was meant for someone else, I would suggest using the "Quote" button so that everyone has no doubt which post you are commenting upon.
  • Bigtkirk says 5 months ago

    What is your basis for suggesting that Asik is a malingerer? Unless you have one, I recommend that you stop doing so because it detracts from the quality of your analysis.

  • rocketrick says 5 months ago

    Rockets have floated through this season due to eastern conference weakness. They are only 2 games above .500 against the western conference. Contrast that with the top 4, each of whom is at least 8 games above .500 against the western conference. In other words, their record is better than they actually are. In fact, Phoenix has an 18-12 conference record and is probably better than either Houston or Golden State. They haven't integrated Asik into the lineup and are not fully utilizing Lin as they remain committed to Beverley as the starter. The schedule is going to get tougher as they play teams that are in the playoff hunt and are more desperate, much like Memphis was in the two most recent games. They still have to play Phx twice, Miami twice, Indiana, Golden St twice, Portland, Minnesota twice, OKC twice, @ Denver, SA twice. They're also playing eastern conference teams like Detroit, Cleveland (twice), Brooklyn, Toronto, Charlotte that are in a playoff hunt despite bad records. That's a tough schedule and their W-L record figures to worsen over the second half barring a reevaluation of the personnel and rotations.

    Thanks for your opinion, however I disagree for the most part. Why? Mainly because of the injury bug the Rockets have been dealt since the start of this season. I totally agree, Asik has not been integrated into the lineup. However, why is that? Is it because he's sitting on the end of the bench and not getting any minutes in regular season games? Or is it because he is injured and not available for the vast majority of this season?

    Have the Rockets been able to maximize Lin effectively this season? Well, the proof is in the first month of the season when Beverley was healthy and Lin was coming off the bench and being extremely effective. Since then, Beverley missed 17 games, nearly half of the first part of this season, plus Harden missed a couple of other games, both requiring Lin to be inserted into the starting lineup.

    As a true Rockets fan, I absolutely look forward to the challenges to come in the remaining regular season schedule. Already the Rockets have proven they are a serious teamnot to be taken lightly by beating San Antonio not once, but twice, and both times in San Antonio. The Rockets also defeated Portland on the road. The Rockets have admittedly had some bad losses this season, but more than made up for that with some strong performances against real contenders this season. All the while being shorthanded pretty much forthe vast majority of the season thus far.

    Only bandwagon fans think that the Rockets have no chance until they do which is no doubt how the majority of this city thinksand for sure how the majority of opinions on this board tend to lean.

    All I can say is bring them all on (remainder of regular season opponents)!!! I am absolutely excited and looking forward to the remainder of this regular season and the drama to come in the playoffs and how the Rockets survive and thrive and learn from this necessary experience.

  • rm90025 says 5 months ago

    Rockets have floated through this season due to eastern conference weakness. They are only 2 games above .500 against the western conference. Contrast that with the top 4, each of whom is at least 8 games above .500 against the western conference. In other words, their record is better than they actually are. In fact, Phoenix has an 18-12 conference record and is probably better than either Houston or Golden State. They haven't integrated Asik into the lineup and are not fully utilizing Lin as they remain committed to Beverley as the starter. The schedule is going to get tougher as they play teams that are in the playoff hunt and are more desperate, much like Memphis was in the two most recent games. They still have to play Phx twice, Miami twice, Indiana, Golden St twice, Portland, Minnesota twice, OKC twice, @ Denver, SA twice. They're also playing eastern conference teams like Detroit, Cleveland (twice), Brooklyn, Toronto, Charlotte that are in a playoff hunt despite bad records. That's a tough schedule and their W-L record figures to worsen over the second half barring a reevaluation of the personnel and rotations.

  • Buckko says 5 months ago Asik can single handily anchor our defense like season when we were top 10 when he was on the court and 28 with him on the bench I'm ecstatic to getting him back but we still need a Brandon Rush to complete our bench mob.
  • pretty pleaze parsons says 5 months ago

    Both Lin and Asik have contracts that are underwater for the remainder of their terms.

    Thus, they are not tradeable for positive value, in that sense. Maybe have value as expirings.

    The "Asik is a top 5 center" is Morey hype. Too many Rockets fans believe it. Asik is valuable defensively, but valuable only in an ordinary way, not a star, just a one-way player. If he had an at-market contract - let's say 10 million for next year - his trade value still wouldn't be exactly awesome.

  • Cooper says 5 months ago We couldn't get bass and lee for asik he isn't worth more than any of the first rounders even though they will be in the 20s. Really the trade cupboard is a bit bare at the moment but luckily there are also no roster holes that would require big time trade piece.
  • thenit says 5 months ago

    It doesn't change his perceived value but if he is not playing for an extended time his value does decrease because he will be deemed damaged goods or high risk. With that kind of money coming to him its hard to take that high of a risk with uncertain rewards. Look at other big men who has been out long and then signed for very small contracts. Asik is not in that category of career ending knee injury but the longer it goes, the more uncertain other GM will perceive him as the risk/reward ratio won't be worth it.

  • rockets best fan says 5 months ago

    good read Mr. Walker........however I disagree that Parsons and T-jones are movable. they aren't going anywhere IMO unless the Rockets are receiving a star player in return. they are much to valuable to the Rockets otherwise. both are on dirt cheap contracts and provideabove averageplay for what they earn. sure they can be had if we are getting K-Love or some big star like that. however IMO they will be Rockets for years to come. I agree Harden and Howard aren't going anywhere.....they are untouchable. IMO our best trade chips are as follows

    1. Asik

    2. our 2014 1st round pick

    3. D-Mo.

    4. J-Lin

    5. our 20161st round pick

    these are the primary assets that any deal will be centered around. all others on the team can and might be used for fillers even though I doubt the Rockets will send Beverly anywhere without receiving acapable replacementpoint guard in return. Morey has said Asik will remain with the team for the rest of his contract, but I consider that nothing more that tradeposturing meant to drive up the price a bit. I disagree that Asik sitting out is interfering with his perceived value. Most GM's already know who and what Asik is and even though his salary is a little high next year it's still not to far out of line for good big men in today's market.we have the necessary assets to get a deal done. problem is finding the right deal.

  • feelingsupersonic says 5 months ago Asik's fall was swift. He went from a great positive and pivotal player on the roster to a huge negative and a really overpaid waste of space that has ruined the roster's depth.
  • thenit says 5 months ago

    I know, I saw a picture of his knee maybe a month ago, so its legit injury it was swollen as hell. We all know big men and their knees and their is no proof to that the injury is fake. Houston would never allow this to go on. As long as your player is injured especially for an extended time, no one would trade for him, so there is no interest from Houston to keep this so called "fake" injury in their statements. Asik hasn't handled the demotion the best way but people seem to blame Asik more for our play than actual rockets players. If and when he comes back this season healthy he will shore some of our issues, but we need to stop coming up with this conspiracy theory that he is faking it without an ounce of proof like many here on the forum has put forward. If he comes back and play without fire or effort, that would be the time to come out with pitch forks, but we all seem to forget that he was important and vital to our playoff last year. Without him we don't make the playoffs.

    I rather criticize Harden's effort on D (slightly improved lately so there is a small hope), Lin'slack of energyand poor play thismonth, Garcia's struggles, coaches not able to make adjustments in abck to back gamesetc there are so many issue with this team right now and injuries has played a role in players not getting their rhythm.

    We have a decent season so far and hopefully when playoffs comes all this will be behind us.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 5 months ago How quickly the fans of Houston turned on Asik lol.
  • John P says 5 months ago

    does anyone know of a good 3 and D wing player with great leadership skills that can be our Battier. I would kill for Battier right now on this team. Maybe bring back Chuck Hayes to re-install the old attitude that the pre-All-Star scrappy team used to have?

  • John P says 5 months ago

    if properly motivated (not sulking like my 3 year old does at time), Asik can be a/the difference maker between us going past the 1st round or WCF or not. Maybe once he realizes that Morey isn't going to trade him he will have to play so that another team will sign him after 3 years.
    I feel for the guy but just wining hasn't gotten anyone anywhere. maybe his injury is legit, ok fine, but you can't help feel it is a disguise for not wanting to play

  • Buckko says 5 months ago

    Morey has said asik will mostly likely stay through his contract and without Parsons our team just crashes hard. Casspi and Beverley are role player keepers IMO. While demo, garcia, smith can be sweeteners. I really want smith to get healthy because I seem him as a great nick collison role player. Brewer is a filler and man I wish we cut him for James Johnson. JJ would fill our biggest need right now. Wing depth and defense, 3pt shooting, energy.

  • Richards says 5 months ago

    Asik's value is falling hard. It would be even more difficult to move him next year.

    I won't be surprised if Morey package Asik + (Bev/Parsons/TJ) to land an all-star if opportunity presented to him.

  • John P says 5 months ago

    Basing it purely off of the eye test, Parsons is what makes this team hum. When he is out the play drops off significantly...even if Harden and Howard are great in their own right. Do you trade the heart of the team? If Love for Parsons, picks, filler came up my guess is that on paper you would do this trade but Love looks more and more like Howard and Harden....great individual players but probably not leaders and/or glue guys that bring all of the pieces together. Billips was that kind of player, as is Lebron and others... From what I can tell Parsons is our version of that. If bringing in more all stars is on the table we will probably do it but we also need to bring in an Iggy or other type of leader who leads by example, does all of the little things and makes the team go. ...so Parsons for me is much closer to a do not touch.

    Jones also is showing a similar game to Parsons. He does lots of things all over the place that fill in the holes and do the dirty work. If he continues improving, even if at a slower pace, he and Parsons would be great working along H and H. I just hope the Rockets can afford them as they continue to get better and the contracts come up.