REPORT: Rockets trade Trevor Ariza, No. 16 pick to Pistons for future first round pick
The Rockets will receive a future first-rounder from the Pistons in return.
Houston is trading Trevor Ariza and the No. 16 pick tonight to Detroit for a future first-round pick, sources tell ESPN. The deal gives the Rockets – a hard-capped team — the freedom to use their mid-level exception in free agency.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 18, 2020
Houston being able to have even a small amount of cap space going into free agency was key in them pulling the trigger and parting ways with their No.16 pick. The Rockets have no room for big signings in free agency, with Harden and Westbrook’s supermax contracts absorbing most of the money on their books. This deal will give them enough room for the mid-level exception to possibly use on a specific need they’ll have to address on their roster.
The Rockets likely aren’t done making moves as the offseason now enters full swing. They still have to deal with the ultimate decision of whether or not to ship off their two disgruntled stars, both of whom are reportedly unhappy with Houston’s current state.
Harden has been linked most recently to the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers, with the Nets being at the forefront of his wish list. His desire to reunite with Durant has “intrigued” the 2018 NBA MVP. The Sixers, meanwhile, have begun freeing up cap space in the event that they can land Harden. General manager Daryl Morey has made it known that he wishes to have Harden join him in Philly, and he made that apparent by trading Al Horford on Wednesday.
Even so, the Rockets remain committed to keeping both stars in the fold, regardless of how awkward and unsuccessful it may end up being.