Trade Deadline 2023: Houston Rockets Mock Deadline

  • GM: Cooper Kline, @alley_oop_coop

    Salary Cap: $135,730,588

    Luxury Tax: $14,536,412

    GOAL: Get a FRP for Eric Gordon! Don’t undersell KJ Martin. Get value for Garrison Matthews if you need to clear the roster spot.


    • You’re in line to have around $59 million in cap space this summer, so try not eating into that unless you’re getting a premium asset in return and are okay with eating into that space

    • Eric Gordon is non-guaranteed next year and you don’t want him eating into that space. You’ve held out for years to get a FRP for him, so do what you can to recoup value

    • KJ Martin requested out, assess his value and determine what is fair value for him

    • Report: Houston was getting Grayson Allen + salary filler (presumably Dario Saric or Landry Shamet) and four second-round picks for Eric Gordon and/or KJ Martin in a 3-team Jae Crowder deal. Houston turned it down, presumably because they think they can do better. EG and KJ may each be worth a first

    Players to Dangle

    Eric Gordon (2/$40.5 w/ NG 2023-24)

    o   Salary: $19,568,360

    o   Can match up to $24,568,360

    o   Hold out for the absolute best offer… four seconds for EG and KJM wasn’t enough

    o   In 2020, expiring Evan Fournier went for two seconds into Boston’s TPE, so may have to settle for that

    Jae’Sean Tate (3/$20.6 w/ TO in 2024-25)

    o   He’s a mid tier salary that can be really helpful to a contender so his name is going to be brought up in negotiations automatically

    o   Would Golden State trade Wiseman for Tate+?

    o   Salary: $7,065,217

    o   Can take up to $12,065,217 in a deal for him

    Garrison Mathews (3/$6.2 w/ NG in 23-24 & TO in ‘24-25)

    o   If any trade is made where a roster spot needs to be freed up, Mathews will have some value in trade market to be moved

    o  Salary: $2,000,000

    KJ Martin (2/$3.7 w/ 2023-24 TO)

    o   Obviously the trade request is looming, low salary so he can fit into plenty of TPEs, but would you be able to get a protected first for him?

    o   Salary: $1,782,621

    Daishen Nix (3/$5.3 w/ NG ‘23-24 and TO in ‘24-25)

    o   Likely first roster casualty if roster spot is needed

    o  Salary: $1,836,096

    Assets Owned

    • TPE: $3,892,917
    • 2023 1st (swap rights with BKN)
    • 2023 MIL 1st
    • 2024 1st (top 4 protected to OKC)
    • 2024 BKN 1st
    • 2025 1st (more favorable of own protected 1-10 & Nets; or more favorable of own 11-30 and Nets if Rockets pick is less favorable than Clippers or more favorable of Nets
    and less favorable of 11-30 or Thunder)
    • 2026 1st (top 4 protected to OKC)
    • 2026 BKN 1st
    • 2027 1st (swap rights with Brooklyn)
    • 2028 1st
    • 2029 1st
    • 2024 GSW 2nd (protected 56-60)
    • 2024 2nd (to OKC if 2024 first not conveyed)
    • 2024 BKN 2nd
    • 2025 2nd (to OKC if 2024 first not conveyed)
    • 2025 MIN 2nd
    • 2025 ATL 2nd (protected 31-40)
    • 2026 2nd (to OKC if 2026 first not conveyed)
    • 2027 MIN 2nd
    • 2028 2nd
    • 2029 2nd


    Mock Trades to Date (Feb 2 Deadline)


    Rockets and Knicks swap role players

    TRADE: Rockets trade Garrison Mathews and their 2024 2nd round pick to the Knicks for Miles McBride

    Our Rockets GM, Cooper Klein, is not a Garrison Mathews fan and for that reason, he was ecstatic to get value for him. While McBride is not playing much for the Knicks, he can provide valuable guard depth to the Rockets. The Knicks get a player who’s perceived as a good shooter with gravity, plus an expectation that the Rockets second-round pick will be in the 30s or low 40s in 2024 in exchange for McBride.


    The Clippers shock the world!


    The Clippers receive: Tim Hardaway Jr.,  Davis Bertans, TyTy Washington, JaVale McGee, Jae’Sean Tate, Alperen Sengun, 2023 MIA 1st, 2024 BKN 1st, 2026 BKN 1st, 2028 HOU 1st (top-10 protected), 2024 BKN 2nd round pick, 2024 GSW 2nd round pick, 2023 first round pick swap with Milwaukee’s first round pick

    The Rockets receive: Kawhi Leonard, Jason Preston, Udonis Haslem, BJ Boston, and cash considerations

    The Heat receive: Eric Gordon and Boban Marjanovic

    The Mavericks receive: Norman Powell, Reggie Jackson, Duncan Robinson, and Dewayne Dedmon


    We have a winner for the “which trade we’ve completed that’s least likely to happen in real life” award! I don’t believe either the Rockets or Clippers would do this deal in real life, but this is still an intriguing one. Kawhi Leonard is a tough evaluation for a trade candidate because he’s starting to play like his old self the last couple of weeks after looking like a shell of it earlier in the season. But despite their .500 record, the Clippers still have their eyes set on a championship. I had both the Clippers GM, Yossi Gozlan, as well as the Rockets GM, Cooper Klein on the Bird Rights Podcast to justify their sides of it. For the Clippers, Kawhi Leonard’s knee issues are concerning, and they were able to get a ransom of a package back for him. Additionally, the Clippers saved around $50 million on their luxury tax bill by completing this trade. Steve Ballmer is the richest owner in the sport and I’ve been on record saying going deep into the luxury tax is the biggest competitive advantage in sports, but the Clippers were still mindful of their tax bill. Before it’s all said and done, it’s possible the Clippers trade Paul George too. However, in reality, the Clippers do not control their own draft pick until 2027, so blowing it to that extent is seen as extremely unlikely.

    For the Rockets, their goal is simple: lure James Harden back to Houston. With Kawhi Leonard in town, a reunion with Houston would seem a lot more appealing to The Beard and if healthy, the Rockets could become immediate contenders. The Rockets would have ample cap space to bring Harden in, and suddenly a core of Kawhi-Harden-Jalen Green-Jabari Smith-Kevin Porter Jr., in addition to this year’s lottery pick, becomes one of the more intriguing cores in the league.

    For the Heat, they basically turn Duncan Robinson and their 2023 first into Eric Gordon and Boban. Gordon is on an expiring deal essentially (non guaranteed deal in 2023-24), and with Tyler Herro and Jimmy Butler’s extensions kicking in, the Heat will be in cap hell going forward after this year. Getting rid of Robinson’s contract would’ve taken a first round pick on its own, so the fact that Miami was able to get a high-level rotation player and get off Robinson’s deal all with one first is great management. 

    For Dallas, they took on Robinson’s money but got off the remaining years for Bertans, Tim Hardaway Jr., and McGee. They also finally acquired the third ball-handler their system needs since losing Jalen Brunson with Reggie Jackson, and Norman Powell would be a far superior sixth-man than Hardaway was. The Mavericks got significantly better in this deal, and all they gave up was Hardaway, Bertans, and McGee. Excellent business by Miami and Dallas to jump in on a very large deal and both accomplish things they wanted to accomplish with minimal assets. 


    Rockets acquire more assets

    Rockets trade: Josh Christopher

    Trailblazers trade: Jabari Walker, Trendon Watford, POR 2027 2nd, POR 2028 2nd, and CLE 2025 2nd


    Once they acquired Kawhi, the Rockets priority was to get off of Josh Christopher. Here, Portland was within a couple hundred thousand of the luxury tax, and this was a way to get guard depth. Houston was initially talking to Brooklyn about a Christopher trade, but the three second-round picks that Portland offered got this trade over the finish line. 


    Rockets take on former first-round pick

    TRADE: The Utah Jazz trade Leandro Bolmaro to the Houston Rockets for cash considerations


    The Jazz had to clear a roster spot so Bolmaro was on the chopping block. Instead of eating his salary and cutting him, they were able to trade him for some cash. For Houston, they had multiple roster spots open as a result of the Kawhi trade, so they were willing to take a flier on a former first-round pick.

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