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2 players Rockets must pursue at 2022 NBA Trade Deadline

Christian Wood, Jalen Green, Rockets

The Houston Rockets knew the season will go in this direction. After years of unsuccessful attempts at the title with James Harden, the Rockets blew it up. Now, they have one of the youngest teams in the league, headlined by promising rookie Jalen Green. There are other pieces as well, such as Christian Wood and Kevin Porter Jr. However, both of these guys have been subjects of controversy in recent times, with both being suspended a few days ago. Usually, these kinds of teams are not included in much relevant trade talk, but it is still worth looking out for what the Rockets could do. There are many unhappy young players around the league that could benefit from the playing time available in Houston. Thus, here are two players Rockets must pursue at the 2022 NBA Trade Deadline.

Rockets 2022 NBA Trade Deadline targets 

De’Aaron Fox 

The Sacramento Kings need to get rid of one of their guards, and De’Aaron Fox seems to be the choice. At least that is the word around the league, although Tyrese Haliburton is in this group as well. The Rockets should be on the phone to the Kings right away, speaking about getting one of them to Texas. It would probably need to be Fox, as Haliburton has different skills that are not as relevant to the Rockets as Fox’s are.

The biggest qualities that De’Aaron Fox brings to the table are stability and pace. The Rockets desperately need a point guard to guide the ball in offense, as they have a fast-paced attack without much form. That is just downstream from the fact that their only NBA-level playmaker is John Wall, who was asked not to play by the franchise earlier this season. Without Wall, the Rockets’ attack really depends on isolations and broken plays.

With Fox at the helm, they would still have a fast offense, as the Kings guard is absolutely rapid. However, in the half-court offense, the Rockets would be able to set up correctly, which would do wonders for the future of their young stars. The form is important, and if the young players are thought how to properly establish themselves in an offense can prove its worth in the future, when the team is ready to attack the top of the NBA. Fox would be ideal for the Rockets in that context.

The Rockets should really just remain patient, as they could probably get Fox for a good price around the February deadline. Right now, the Kings still have some leverage, but they will panic, in classic Kings fashion, as the time for trades draws to a close. If the Rockets can hold on to their resources and possibly get a deal for John Wall with some team where they get at least a few second-round picks for the veteran, their offer to the Kings could be sufficient even before February rolls over.

However, Houston would likely have to include at least one or two players in the deal as well like a Christian Wood and/or Kevin Porter Jr. After all, Fox is a key piece for Sacramento therefore they will be looking for a decent return.

Domantas Sabonis 

If the Rockets want to build for the future, calling up the Pacers and inquiring about Domantas Sabonis is the path to go. The 25-year-old from Lithuania is going to cost them, most likely at least Christian Wood, but it is well worth it. He is fairly young, yet a two-time All-Star. Sabonis is also on the trading block, as a recent report outlined. That means that Pacers do not have much leverage and the Rockets can dictate a lot of the terms of the trade.

Now, this might be a counterproductive move right away. The Rockets want to lose this season, as they would be set up better for the 2022 NBA Draft, and it is likely that Sabonis will improve them. However, how many times in NBA history was a two-time All-Star, ready to enter his prime, available for trade? Not much, and the Rockets are one of the teams, possibly with the Oklahoma City Thunder, with serious assets to bolster their trade package. It will be at least one player, of course, but the Rockets also have a ton of picks to use.

Sabonis brings what the Rockets need most – inside presence, rebounding, scoring. The Rockets are an abysmal rebounding team, and Sabonis controls the defensive glass and is a fairly good offensive rebounder. The Rockets also have certain issues with ball distribution, and while Sabonis is not a point guard, he averaged 6.7 and 5.0 assists in his last two seasons, respectively. This season, the number fell to 4.5, but that is also a good number. The Lithuanian would not resolve absolutely all playmaking issues, but he could reward good positioning and movement by pinpoint passes.

It is important to note however that Indiana is looking to retool, not rebuild. That means Wood would almost have to be a part of a Sabonis package and probably some draft picks as well. It’s going to be a tough deal for Houston to pull off without giving up assets and important pieces of their current core.