Rockets could be third team in trade with Lakers and Suns, The Athletic reports

Josh Wells on Dec. 13, 2018

The Rockets are looking to bolster a roster that was one game from the NBA Finals in the 2017-2018 season. A lackluster start has forced the Rockets’ hand in desperation. They are looking for wing depth since Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah A Moute have departed for greener pastures. According to The Athletic, the​ Houston​ Rockets​ are emerging as​ a suitor​ for Los​ Angeles​ Lakers​ guard Kentavious​ Caldwell-Pope​ in two multi-team trade​ scenarios. There are positives and negatives in every trade scenario. So, let’s take a look at both.

The Good

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has some length, which is what the Rockets have been lacking this season. Averaging just a little over one steal a game, Caldwell-Pope can play in the passing lanes and match the mode of Ariza. He is also shooting 35% from the three-point line, which the Rockets desire.

Another positive the Rockets can look at is the contract situation. Looking through that microscope, it appears likely that the Rockets would rid themselves of Brandon Knight and his 30-million-dollar contract for the next two years. They would exchange a two-year contract for a one-year contract. And we don’t know what Knight is going to look like when he returns to action, as he hasn’t played in an NBA game since February 2017.

The Bad

The Rockets missed the boat when they failed to get Jimmy Butler, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is no Butler. Kentavious can be viewed as very similar to Eric Gordon: both are scorers who have the capability to defend. But the Rockets will also lose any Bird rights for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, as he only signed a one-year contract with the Lakers this summer. Losing the Bird rights means the Rockets cannot go over the cap to sign him as a free agent. They will have to use any available cap space to re-sign him if they want him to return.

The Verdict

The Rockets should pull the trigger on this deal, as long as they don’t give up any future draft collateral. The Rockets don’t need to break the bank to trade for a player like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and he can help this team on both sides of the ball. When you’re in the Rockets’ boat, you cannot give up a first round pick for someone that you can’t even guarantee will be back next year. If the Rockets can find a way to only give up Brandon Knight in this deal, then this should be a win for them.

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