They gave Fred VanVleet a massive three-year, $130 million deal, then signed Dillon Brooks 24 hours later to a three-year $86 million contract. Houston also brought in veterans such as Jock Landale (four years, $32 million) and Jeff Green (two years, $16 million) to further surround their young roster with veterans who could show them how to win in the NBA. In addition, they also brought in Ime Udoka, who just made the NBA Finals with the Boston Celtics in 2022, as their new head coach.
By no means will the Rockets make an outright playoff berth with their flurry of offseason additions. But they should be in the mix for the play-in tournament throughout the season.
The Rockets may not be done making moves this offseason. Perhaps they make some last-minute trades prior to the beginning of the 2023-24 season. With that said, here are two potential trade candidates for the Houston Rockets with training camp approaching.
1. Kevin Porter Jr.
This one is fairly obvious. The Houston Rockets already made it known that they are actively trying to find a potential trade for Kevin Porter Jr. This comes following Porter's arrest in New York for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Kysre Gondrezick, who is a WNBA free agent.
Assault case aside, Porter Jr. was likely going to be a prime trade candidate regardless. Selecting Amen Thompson with the fourth overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft could have softly indicated they don't see Porter as their point guard of the future. A week later, the Rockets signed Fred VanVleet to that fat three-year contract, which further signified he wasn't going to have as featured of a role this upcoming season than he did in 2022-23.
It's likely that Houston already had the 23-year-old on the trading block prior to the assault case. Several teams should be lining up to acquire a young stud like him. But that only dropped his trade value as teams may be reluctant in trading for a troubled individual with a murky history record.
It's unfortunate because Porter is a legitimately talented offensive player in the NBA. Last season, he averaged career-highs of 19.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 5.7 assists in 59 games (all starts) for Houston.
2. Jae'Sean Tate
Another potential Rockets trade candidate ahead of training camp is Jae'Sean Tate. Tate is already the longest-tenured player on the team. He has played a huge role as a defensive specialist and has also become a great vocal leader for this young Rockets team over the past three seasons.
With a new regime in place under Ime Udoke and the plethora of veteran and wing additions Houston has made over the last couple of seasons, Tate may no longer be as valuable as he was over the last couple of seasons. Fred VanVleet and Jeff Green figure to be the veteran leaders of the this team moving forward, while Dillon Brooks will provide the toughness the Rockets need. Where does this leave Tate, who could lose minutes with guys like Tari Eason and even rookie Cam Whitmore coming in to eat up some of the playing time from the wing position?
After missing only nine games in his first two years in the NBA, Tate appeared in just 31 games last season due to a lingering ankle injury.