In the last minutes of what was looking like it was going to be an uneventful trade deadline for the Houston Rockets, Daryl Morey decided to pull the trigger on two deals (so far) that have landed the Rockets their coveted big man with alleged potential and a new back up point guard.
Houston will be trading Shane Battier and his expiring contract back to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for last season’s #2 overall pick Hasheem Thabeet and a future first round pick.
In a separate deal Houston will be sending former most-improved-player and second round steal Aaron Brooks to the struggling Phoenix Suns in exchange for Goran Dragic and another first round pick. Thabeet has been known as a long term project player even before he declared for the draft and has had trouble finding any consistent minutes behind Marc Gasol in Memphis. Goran Dragic has proven to be a very constant and promising back up guard behind Steve Nash although he has struggled tremendously this season.
Overall, all players involved except for Shane Battier could have used a change of scenery. Thabeet isn’t going to be our new starting center and he isn’t going to change the fate of the Rockets this season or next. He’s about as raw as they come but he is 7’3” and has shot blocking skills.
I’m not sold on the Thabeet trade at all, he’s been awful in the NBA so far and doesn’t look like he has it all together upstairs. Dragic, on the other hand, is a great player with upside who will be ready to contribute immediately.
On Houston’s departed I will say this – Aaron Brooks was simply not panning out this season. His ego got the best of him and he made a fool out of himself on a team that prides itself on professionalism. He was not playing well with or without the headband and I think trading him was the right move. Shane Battier will forever be a Rocket. He was a true professional and the most articulate Rocket we’ve had here in Houston in ages. His defense may have regressed ever so slightly, but he is still one of the top wing defenders in the league. Shane, and his intangibles, will truly be missed this season in Houston.
Protection on the acquired picks is still undisclosed but one thing is clear: Daryl Morey is one of the only GMs in the league who sees hope in this year’s draft. Could Morey see something others don’t? It wouldn’t be the first time.
More analysis to follow as the story develops.