Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The More Things Change...What Will Morey Do Next?

Last year, the biggest concern for the Houston Rockets was, "Who will shoot the ball?" With Yao, Artest, and McGrady out at the beginning of the year, the Rockets desperately needed some of their low usage players to turn into primary scoring options-a role that Aaron Brooks and Carl Landry capably filled.

This year, the Rockets are in the exact opposite situation. Whereas last year they had no "proven scorers", this year they have four players who can put up 20 a game in Yao, Kevin Martin, Aaron Brooks, and Luis Scola, who averaged about 20 a game after the Carl Landry trade last year.

This is a good thing for the Rockets offense, as all four players can get their points within the offense, and it prevents opposing defenses from keying in on any one player. However, this configuration leaves Yao and Battier as the only above average defenders in the Rockets' lineup alongside their offensive surplus, making me think that they could move some of the offense for defense.

The big deal they just gave Luis Scola, along with his recent production, makes me think that he'll stay, and they seem pretty high on Kevin Martin as well. That makes Brooks the logical choice to be moved, especially as his likely replacement, Kyle Lowry, is a better passer, defender, and fits in better with their "take a million trips to the free throw line" philosophy.

The perfect fit for Aaron Brooks would be a fringe playoff team desperate for a point guard. Charlotte, which really needs an offensive option besides Wallace and Captain Jack, Memphis, which is still trying to make the Mike Conley experiment work, and Atlanta, who is relying on Mike Bibby way too much, seem like the most likely destinations.

Atlanta seems less likely than the other two, if only because they are unlikely to trade Johnson, Smith, or Horford, and none of their secondary players are particularly attractive trade bait. Charlotte's cupboard is also relatively bare after Wallace, Jackson, and Tyrus Thomas, but thanks to Erick Dampier's unguaranteed contract, a willingness to take on payroll in exchange for another playoff run could lead to a three team trade. Memphis has more assets and an unpredictable front office, but I don't see an obvious two team trade there. A three team trade would be the most likely option for either Memphis or Charlotte.

In a Brooks deal, the Rockets would probably be targeting at least one of the following; an eventual replacement for Yao, depth at point guard, and another wing if Battier's expiring contract is moved in any deal. In a hypothetical deal, Houston could send Aaron Brooks to Charlotte, Charlotte could send Dampier's contract to a team looking to shed payroll (like New Orleans or Philadelphia), and that third team could send some players to the Rockets. For example, it could look something like this.

No comments:

Post a Comment