The Dream Shake - a Houston Rockets blog: Did the Lottery results help the Rockets, too?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Did the Lottery results help the Rockets, too?

Tuesday night, there were some clear winners following the NBA's annual Draft Lottery:

The Chicago Bulls (1.7% chance pays off huge)
The Miami Heat (because the decision is now made easy for them)
David Stern (suck it, conspiracy theorists!)
The Eastern Conference

... and maybe, just maybe -- the Houston Rockets.

Yes, I'm being serious.

Let's break it down. The Houston Rockets have a few basic goals to accomplish during this offseason: (1) find a taker for Luther Head, (2) solidify the point guard position, and (3) get more athletic at the swing-positions. I think we can all agree on this, right?

Now, let's look at the Chicago Bulls. They have their choice between Derrick Rose - the supposed can't miss PG who also happens to be from Chicago, or Michael Beasley - the low-post presence Chicago has never really had before. They can't go wrong here. BUT... the fans, bloggers and media are already begging the Bulls to bypass Beasley and draft Rose.

So, let's say the Bulls settle on Rose.

Enter Daryl Morey...

If the Bulls take Rose, that is a clear signal that they have no use for Kirk Hinrich anymore. There's a fan petition out to get rid of him already. Which sounds too much like my initial Rafer petition. Hey! Idea!!!

ESPN is killing me by not having the Trade Machine already operational for the offseason, so we'll have to wing it here......... but don't the Rockets have to at least consider a big trade with Chicago if the price is right? T-Mac still hasn't gotten out of the first round. He's about to be a very, very old 29 year old with a bad back and lots of mileage. Luther Head sucks. Rafer sucks less than he used to, but he's not exactly CP3 or Deron Williams.

If Chicago is at all interested in the concept of Rose being paired with McGrady -- wouldn't the Rockets also be interested in a lineup of, say:

C: Yao/ Mutombo (or Hibbert??)
PF: Scola/ Landry/ Hayes
SF: Battier/ Luol Deng / Mike Harris
SG: Ben Gordon / Battier / Deng
PG: Kirk Hinrich / Aaron Brooks / Bobby J

while you could never replace the intangibles McGrady brings... I think it's fair to say McGrady hasn't exactly been bringing much of 'em to the table lately. Furthermore, McGrady has two years left on his contract at $20M each year. Deng was a potential all-star a year ago. Hinrich is coming off a down year but the dude can ball. And he's clearly better than Rafer/Luther. Gordon is going into his 4th year and is instant offense *plus* he can actually shoot free throws.

Isn't this the very definition of "buy low / sell high"???

The only real issue would be getting the contracts to match for salary cap purposes, since Hinrich is a base-year player right now and Deng and Gordon don't exactly have contracts just yet. But Daryl Morey is a genius and he could figure it out.

This trade would make the Rockets younger, faster and more flexible at each position almost immediately. Yao would still be the Man, but he's get many more open shots with Scola on the post and Deng able to hit the mid-range J with regularity. The Rockets could be scary good.

Am I wrong, or could this really work!?!?


Forshizzzle said...

It seems to me that it could work, but I'm not sure why you would want it to. A backcourt of Hinrich and Gordon is far from ideal. Yeah Hinrich is coming off a terribly inconsistent season, and you've got to think he will improve, but are you willing to bet the farm that he will. Rafer and Hinrich's stats from last year were

11.5 ppg, 6.0 apg, 3.3 rpg, 41% FG%, 35% 3pt%

13.1 ppg, 5.3 apg, 3.5 rpg, 39% FG%, 35% 3pt%

I'll let you guess which stats belong to which player, but are we absolutely certain that one of these guys is "certainly better" than the other?

The best way for me to think about such a trade is to look at the backcourt and I just don't see it as an improvement.

Rafer/TMac/Battier seems better than Hinrich/Gordon/Battier/Deng.

Forshizzzle said...

I also forgot to mention that it's going to be very difficult to get Gordon and Deng with Hinrich. You're much more likely to just get one of those players. Deng is reportedly looking for $55 million over 5 years and Chicago is probably going to do that. Gordon will probably want about as much, and although he won't get it, let's just assume you could sign him for around 6 or 7 million over 4 years.

The Rockets have $40 million guaranteed to TMac over the next two years. Bringing in those players would bring along $120 million in guaranteed salaries. The risk/reward, especially from a financial perspective, seems crazy to me. I'd much rather take my chances with TMac over the next two years, and then you'll have some cap room to pursue who else is out there if things don't work out.

Chicago would do this deal in a second I've got to think. TMac was not close to the Rocket's biggest problem in the playoffs.

Amaar said...

I would like the trade if we did not take have to take ben gordon. He is a slightly better version of luther head in that when he shoots it actually goes in. However, if we could get luol deng, well that would just be amazing.

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Jeffrey Hardy Quah said...

No, it couldn't work. Those Bulls players regressed so badly I don't see them magically improving under Rick Adelman. Sure, you could argue that Scott Skiles lost them, but you would expect professionals to bring some level of competence every night. There's a reason why Bulls fans want Hinrich far far away; they were supposed to make the Conference Finals for god's sake, never mind the playoffs. Morey has a good thing with Tracy. Why risk it on a prayer that Hinrich/Deng/Gordon could turn it around this time?

And we didn't lose the first round because of Tracy McGrady, we lost because we didn't have the best center in the world. That's just how it goes sometimes. Let's not make any panic trades this early on, hmm?

Ray said...

Interesting trade, but it won't work.

1) Salaries won't match up as Hinrich, Deng, and Gordon will make way too much combined once Deng and Gordon sign their contracts.

2) Bulls won't trade those three in the same package for a guy like McGrady. McGrady and Scola, maybe, and there's no way the Rockets give up Scola.

3) Gordon may be able to be had for the mid-level as the Bulls probably don't resign him at this point. It'll be interesting to see what interest he gets. If the Rockets can pick him up, he'd be an upgrade over Bobby Jackson and Luther Head and could handle the scoring load if TMac got injured. Maybe they can sweet tal him, but he'd have to accept being a 6th man for less money than he could make elsewhere to be the starter.

4) Bulls won't trade Deng. I'd love to see him in a Rockets uniform, but they won't give him up. Expect them to sign him to a max deal (or something close) and try to figure out a way to pair him with Nocioni.

5) Bulls will probably take Beasley. It just makes too much sense for them and I think he's a great fit for them. Rose, as of right now, isn't a big upgrade over Hinrich. If they take Rose, they're looking two years down the road and rebuilding now. If they take Beasley, they want to win now. They've got the pieces to win in a weak East, why not go for it.

By the way, any thoughts on who the Rockets will take in the draft? I'm hoping Chris Douglas-Roberts of Memphis drops to them. He'd be a perfect 3rd in a 3 man roation along with TMac and Battier.

lovinlife said...

It's time to trade the T! He is our star player, but he isn't consistent in any way. His injuries constantly keep you guessing as to how long he'll be able to play each season. We need healthy, young, versatile ball players. Until we change our line up, we are going to continue getting the same results:no more championships!