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Rockets sitting out trade deadline or waiting for offers?

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Hottoddie, Feb 17, 2002.

  1. Hottoddie

    Hottoddie Contributing Member

    Jun 27, 2000
    Likes Received:
    From the sound of this article, it seems that the Rockets are going to wait & see if some other trades fall through, then try to sneak in & pick up a late #1 pick.


    Rockets likely to sit out big trade dance

    Copyright 2002 Houston Chronicle

    The Rockets hear the music playing and hate to sit out a single dance. There are trade rumors flying and phones ringing. They would love to get out on the floor and hoof.

    Instead, they will likely sit and watch, and wait for an unlikely invitation.

    The NBA trade deadline is Thursday, inspiring general managers to talk about deals with the hopes that the deadline will incite inspiration like college students pulling all-nighters before finals.

    The Rockets would love to jump in. They always do. But this time, they find themselves on the wrong side of the trade deadline equation.

    Unlike the off-season, at trade deadline it is the best-equipped teams that are moved to make deals. The teams that need help most, sit it out. But everyone talks.

    The Rockets are in the middle of the usual rush of conversation. But trade deadline deals are usually to shore up the short-term. For the Rockets, the short-term is not the point anymore. Any deal worth discussing must be for next season and beyond.

    "When you're rebuilding," Rockets general manager Carroll Dawson said, "you always look at the big picture."

    For all the injuries effect on the Rockets' record, they still know they are rebuilding. To fix the short term would be short-sighted.

    The Rockets' shopping list is fairly limited, unless we're talking fantasies of picking up a future superstar for spare parts. Barring that, they would likely look for an athletic small forward, an extra full-sized center (if Kevin Willis is not around next season and Jason Collier does not earn playing time to prove to be an answer) or an extra first-round pick.

    "You never quit trying to get better," Dawson said. "I would try to make us better even if we had a great record, whether by getting personnel or by getting the guys together and healthy long enough to get better that way. But I don't think anybody ever says, `I'm happy. We're good enough.'

    "Are we happy with our young guys and the people we added, yeah," Dawson said. "We're lucky to have an owner that's on board with what we've done, what we're trying to do and who understands the game."

    But the idea now, is not necessarily to improve, anyway.

    Jerry Krause could help this season's Bulls much more than Charles Oakley is by setting Oakley free. But it might be wiser to hold onto Oakley to help clear $7.3 million of cap space next summer.

    The majority of the calls to Dawson's Westside Tennis Club office will likely be about Kenny Thomas, Kevin Willis and Walt Williams.

    Thomas has gained popularity around the league as a tough defender and a much more effective offensive force than many expected. Teams can see the Rockets' potential for a glut at power forward. With a salary of $946,920 this season, it would not be too difficult to make the money match, and he would not mess up anyone's salary structure.

    But the Rockets don't have a glut anywhere now, and if the they are to be so inclined, Thomas will only become more attractive on the trade block next summer, making the chances of dealing him now remote at best.

    Willis could offer a playoff team some extra inside muscle. Williams could bring an extra scorer and a $5 million salary that would come off the books after the season. But the Rockets' would only move either veteran if they were getting a key rebuilding piece or a contract as close to expiring. Both scenarios are unlikely.

    The first-round pick, however, could be there somewhere. There are enough Eastern Conference teams that can consider themselves playoff contenders to be moved to make a move. But they could be wrong and fall into the lottery.

    More likely, they could offer picks that are heavily protected. But the Rockets have learned to love extra picks after last season's successful move up in the draft and if more attractive deals collapse, the Rockets might try to sneak in.

    The chain reaction must start somewhere else. With big names -- Nick Van Exel, Raef LaFrentz, Jalen Rose, Bonzi Wells, Damon Stoudamire, Charles Oakley, even Marc Jackson -- filling trade talks, teams looking to make a deal will look there first.

    Though deals are made every season on deadline, the majority fall through.

    "I've been involved in a lot of dialogue," Warriors general manager Garry St. Jean said. "It may be a case though of I want to dance with you and, but you think I'm ugly and you don't want to dance with me."

    There is a lot of that going around.

  2. leebigez

    leebigez Contributing Member

    Jun 24, 2001
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    If CD says they are rebuilding for the future, why did he sign and trade for Rice? The most Rice could have offered them was 2 yrs. Barkely said it best, either you contend or rebuild, the worse thing you could do is be mediocre.
  3. The Cat

    The Cat Contributing Member

    Jan 24, 2000
    Likes Received:
    CD says now they're building for next season and beyond. It doesn't mean that was always the case. This team could be really good if not for injuries to Stevie, Mo, and Rice. When we traded for Rice, Steve and Mo were healthy, and thus there was talk of trying to win this season. Since they aren't healthy, you have to look at next season.

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