Finally a real trade and not baseless speculation. Details surfaced on Wednesday night surrounding the Houston Rockets acquisition of the Sacramento Kings first round pick in last year’s draft, Thomas Robinson.
If anything, most folks in Sacramento would have thought the Kings would deal Tyreke Evans, the 2010 Rookie of the Year whose trade value is fairly high especially considering his contract expires at seasons end. They probably wouldn’t have guessed, however, that the team would send the guy they picked fifth overall in last year’s draft instead.
The deal, announced by an anonymous source Wednesday night, sends Patrick Patterson, Toney Douglas, Cole Aldrich and some cash to the Kings in exchange for Robinson, Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt. The Rockets had been linked with the likes of Josh Smith, whether now or in free agency, so it may come as a surprise to some that this deal happened right now, but Houston GM Darryl Morey saw the chance to make a deal and did what he does best.
He wasn’t done there though. Before all was said and done, Morey also dealt power forward Marcus Morris to Phoenix where he joins his brother Markieff, in exchange for a future second round pick.
Of Houston and Sacramento, the Rockets get the better end of the deal. Robinson is a guy whose has been undervalued and underutilized in Sacramento while Garcia and Honeycutt both have deals with team options on them that amount to $7.3 million, meaning the Rockets could add both players to their totals coming off the books this summer. If Kevin McHale can polish Robinson into something decent, the cash that Morey sent the other way will mean little to the franchise.
For the Kings, the deal provides them with a backup to DeMarcus Cousins for the rest of the season in Aldrich, a cheap but experienced option at point guard in Toney Douglas and Patterson, a better scorer at 11.6 points per game than the Kings’ current power forwards. Aldrich’s contract expires after this season while the other two have a combined payout of $6.2 million, roughly the cost of Garcia’s contract by itself.
While the Rockets may be taking a risk on Robinson, it’s well worth it if it given his age and potential. He fits in well with the team’s young core and can provide the real power forward type presence the team has needed on the boards and on defense. Aside from Robinson’s obvious value having been a top five pick in last year’s draft, the move clears playing time for young talents like Terrence Jones who had no place in Houston’s lineup with both Morris and Patterson in the team.
Morris was happy about the deal as he wanted to join Phoenix to play with his brother, so that deal is just a small piece of positive business for all parties involved. But the deal with the Kings clearly favors the Rockets who can dump both Garcia and Honeycutt after using them as backup options as they make their push for the eight seed in the West this season.
Robinson will give them rebounds having averaged 4.7 per game while playing just under 16 minutes per contest. While some may consider Robinson a risk, it’s one that can be taken at minimal cost to the team as he is set to make only $3.5 million next year and has a team option in his contract for the following season.
Does this move make the Rockets contenders for a deep run in the postseason come May? No, but a young and promising starting lineup just got a little bit better and the excess fat of their lineup coming into the day has been trimmed. Advantage Houston.