This offseason trades will fly, and Houston Rockets could be as fun a team as any to watch.
Though unfortunate the Rockets had another season where they failed to reach the playoffs, the future of the team is bright. That’s just looking at who they already have on the roster.
When factoring in their potential trade targets this summer though? Houston could climb from the bottom of the rung to at least a playoff position.
At least as long as they resist making the moves that sound good rather than the ones that are truly best for them.
Here are five early Rockets trade targets for the 2023 offseason.
5 early Rockets trade targets in 2023 NBA offseason
1. RJ Barrett
With the New York Knicks, RJ Barrett may never get the chance to reach his potential, and through no fault of his own. Newcomer Jalen Brunson has been so sensational because of craftiness and fundamental skill that it’s difficult to ask him to give the ball up. Immanuel Quickley, a fan favorite, has always been a microwave scorer. Sharpshooter Quentin Grimes has also entered the chat, demonstrating a pronounced ability to shoot since his arrival.
Nonetheless, as a player who is a jack of all trades but master of none, the lefty could develop properly in Houston. Although the Rockets have multiple perimeter playmakers, the quick-hitter play style of Jalen Green and the determination of Kevin Porter Jr. to be a true point guard means that Barrett will have a fair number of opportunities.
For Houston, adding the former third overall pick gives them a player with plenty of room to grow as a player that they can start at small forward. In addition, his playmaking ability will allow Porter and Green to play off-ball more, which should ultimately help them be more efficient from 3.
2. Tyus Jones
Tyus Jones’ play during Ja Morant’s suspension was inspiring. However, with rookie point guard Kennedy Chandler waiting in the wings, the Memphis Grizzlies could be willing to move the 26-year-old. Should he join the Rockets, he would provide not only a true point guard but a sound defensive player that would help the team be more effective on both ends.
Averaging 10.4 points and 5.1 assists per game on 44.0 percent shooting from the field and 37.8 percent from 3-point range, Jones isn’t going to be a high-volume scorer that needs to take a lot of shots. That’s perfect for the Rockets, who simply need someone to spray the ball around to Porter, Green, Jabari Smith Jr., Alperen Sengun and others while being able to take what the defense gives him and hit an open shot.
Though just 6-foot-0, there’s even a chance that his presence — and the effect of moving Porter to the wing — will make life easier for Sengun when he guards the pick-and-roll.
3. Andrew Wiggins
Nobody knows what’s been going on with Golden State Warriors swingman Andrew Wiggins but depending on his future outlook, a change of scenery or environment could be good for him on a personal level. On a professional level, Wiggins could also see a move to Houston as an opportunity to prove that he can lead a team rather than simply fitting on one.
Having improved his discipline, defensive intensity, and 3-point shooting, Wiggins would have more offensive freedom with the Rockets. However, while in the past that may have seemed like a questionable proposition, players like Brooklyn Nets demonstrate how a player can keep their offense simple and still be a go-to scorer.
The same holds true for Wiggins, who has averaged 17.8 points per game on 47.1 percent shooting from the field and 38.6 percent shooting from three since joining the Warriors in 2020.
Even if Wiggins didn’t want to play that role though? The Rockets would still be in great shape, as none of their players lack for confidence. Furthermore, with the attention that Green receives from 3-point range, Wiggins may find himself open nearly as much as he did in Golden State.
4. Ben Simmons
Speaking of the Nets, controversial star point guard Ben Simmons isn’t a popular player these days.
His mentality his been questioned, as well has ability and durability. Yet, much of the criticism he faces is emotionally charged, like watching a mob gather up torches and a pitchfork just to join in the banter. The truth of the matter is that while a truly flawed player, more in terms of his intangibles than what he can do on the court, he’s still quite the talent.
Like the player mentioned before him in Wiggins, Simmons didn’t go first overall in the NBA Draft and win Rookie of the Year by sheer luck.
Simmons is a force of nature in transition, has a level of fluidity and athleticism that one can’t simply find at 6-foot-10, and he’s one of the best passers in the entire league. What’s more, he can be relied upon to guard players along the perimeter, and when he does that at point guard he makes life difficult for even the elite scorers.
Skills that fit the Rockets and allow them to be the team they need to be.
5. Jaylen Brown
The most attractive target on this list could be Boston Celtics wing Jaylen Brown, though he would also be the most expensive.
Averaging 26.7 points per game on 49.3 percent shooting from the field, the two-time All-Star has averaged at least 20 points per game over the last four seasons. However, while his offensive numbers pop out, what truly stands out is the work he’s put in to become a better scorer — working diligently on his ball-handling, footwork, and jump shooting to have an All-NBA level season in 2022-23.
There’s still more work to be done with Brown.
He could stand to tighten up his handle even more and become a more dedicated passer. Doing that alone could make life easier for him, with defenses less able to predict what Brown will do next.
Picturing him and Green attacking rims with ferocity and hitting tough shot after tough shot is enough to make this trade worth the price. Especially if he can dedicate himself to being a more complete player in Houston.
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