The Houston Rockets mortgaged most of their future in a trade to acquire Russell Westbrook last offseason, and then they traded away Clint Capela to solidify their new commitment to small-ball. After a disappointing playoff run and the departure of coach Mike D’Antoni, the Rockets may want to make a drastic move, such as trying to acquire Kevin Love.
Jackson Gatlin: This seems to happen every summer with the Houston Rockets. Fans want to try and pair James Harden with Kevin Love, the former Minnesota big man, the guy who was the third point in the triangle between LeBron James and Kyrie Irving during that Cleveland championship.
Here’s the trade proposal for the Rockets to receive Kevin Love. It’s a three team trade proposal: Rockets receive Kevin Love, the Timberwolves receive Eric Gordon and Danuel House Jr., and the Cavaliers receive James Johnson, a 2020 2nd-round pick from the Timberwolves, a 2022 2nd-round pick from the Timberwolves, and then Austin Rivers on a sign-and-trade deal.
Here’s the rationale from all the teams involved. For the Rockets, it’s pretty obvious. The Rockets get rid of Eric Gordon, Danuel House, Jr., and Austin Rivers. Three rotation players, yes, but Austin Rivers, a player who can very easily walk if he so chooses this offseason to try and go get a bigger payday elsewhere, which is what he receives in this trade. So that kind of mitigates that factor. Danuel House Jr, who has potentially burned some bridges within the organization. So, it remains to be seen what exactly happens on his front, but I’m operating under the assumption that D-House will not be back because of said burned bridges. So, he is a trade piece to kind of sweeten the deal across the board for anybody else. Eric Gordon is still a capable, quality rotation player who unfortunately had a bit of a down year and is essentially the only trade chip that the Rockets have to be able to match salary in these big types of trades, and so Eric Gordon has to be on the way out if you’re bringing in a sizable contract like Kevin Love. So here’s the thing, the reason these three players all have to go is you have to match the contract value of Kevin Love’s at $31.2 million, the Rockets would have to send out $25 million in salary.