When the NBA Trade Deadline approaches, rebuilding teams like the Houston Rockets are usually big-time buyers or sellers, looking to take on unappealing contracts or move veterans for draft compensation.
This season, the Rockets look to be sellers, holding out for a first-round pick in exchange for veteran guard Eric Gordon. They’re also receiving “a lot of incoming calls” about forward Jae’Sean Tate, according to NBA insider Jeff Fischer.
Tate went undrafted out of Ohio State in 2018 but has been in the league since the 2020-21 season. 25-years-old at the start of his rookie season, Tate averaged an eye-opening 11.3 points per game on 50.6 percent shooting for the floundering Rockets. However, his defense was his calling card, as his versatility allowed him to be Houston’s most important defender.
Fast forward to the 2022-23 season and Tate is well on his way to being traded by the Rockets.
Tate is now 27-years-old and just a bit outside the timeline of the team’s core. He’s also replaceable after the Rockets drafted forward Tari Eason with the 17th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
Eason, just 21-years-old, fits the team’s timeline much better than Tate. The LSU product is also a standout defender and athlete. Averaging 8.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game on 44.5 percent shooting from the field and 36.1 percent shooting from 3-point range, Eason’s baseline as a two-way player is appealing.
Fortunately for Houston, there are multiple suitors for Tate. If the Rockets are motivated to move him, a deal could be completed prior to the Feb. 9 trade deadline.