NBA

NBA Executives Expect Houston Rockets’ “Firesale”

Mar 3, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets loses the ball as he is pressured by P.J. Tucker #17 of the Houston Rockets and Victor Oladipo #7 during the second quarter at Toyota Center on March 03, 2021 in Houston, Texas. Mandatory Credit: Bob Levey-POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports
POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockets were supposed to remain competitive even in the post-Harden, D’Antoni, and Morey era. However, after going on a thirteen-game skid, the Rockets’ playoff’s hopes look bleak. Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report says that teams expect the Rockets to go on a “firesale” leading up to the trade deadline.

Who the Rockets might move

Key Rockets’ veterans, such as Victor Oladipo and P.J Tucker, are on expiring deals. Oladipo doesn’t have an incentive to return to a losing team. At this point in his career, he likely wants to seek opportunities where he can win. He rejected the Rockets’ extension in hopes of getting a long-term deal.

Oladipo is a two-way threat. He can create for himself at times and is a pesky on-ball defender. He would elevate a contending team on both ends of the court.

P.J Tucker has an extension on the table, but he hasn’t accepted it. Money is likely the main contention point here. Tucker is one of the last remaining players on the Rockets’ roster from the previous regime. His versatile defensive skill set, ability to shoot the ball and toughness is valuable to any team.

The Rockets will probably try to ship Eric Gordon. His contract and injury history is going to limit which teams can acquire him. However, Gordon, when healthy, is an extremely underrated player. He can score the ball in a variety of ways and is surprisingly switchable on defense. He has a similar build to PJ Tucker that allows him to guard bigger players. In the Rockets’ Western Conference Finals run, he played a huge role.

The Rockets’ 2021 pick

The Rockets sent this year’s pick to Oklahoma City in the Russell Westbrook trade. They have a top-four protection on the pick, meaning if it falls outside of the top-four it would go to the Thunder. They have an incentive to tank this year to secure that pick.

The top four in this year’s draft would be a great building block for the Rockets’ future. They would get their pick at one of the wing playmakers this year in Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, and Jonathan Kuminga.

There aren’t as many sellers in a year where both conferences have more teams vying for a top-ten seed. The Rockets might be able to acquire young prospects from teams desperate to separate themselves from the pack.

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