The Houston Rockets, well known for their ability to work the trade market, shuffled multiple roster pieces around prior to Thursday’s trade deadline. They were able to bring in multiple players, however only Iman Shumpert is set to remain with the team through the season, as Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin were moved shortly after being acquired.
The Rockets bid farewell to Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss, both of whom played very little with the team this season, as well as James Ennis, who popped in and out of the team’s regular rotation. While none of the trades outside of bringing in Shumpert did much to help with their depth issues right away, it did open up the ability to bring in three more players.
Similar to past seasons, the Houston Rockets are expected to be big players in the buyout market. Here are some names they will likely keep an eye on:
5. Markieff Morris
A trade between New Orleans and Washington sent the 29-year-old Morris to the Pelicans, despite currently being injured. He hasn’t played a game since December and it is still unsure just when he will return from his neck injury. However, once he makes his way back to the court, the Pelicans buying him out is incredibly likely.
He would be a great fit for the Rockets, who are extremely thin at power forward. Morris, who would be backing up defensive lynchpin P.J. Tucker, would provide some extra grit and defense of his own to the team- something they have been missing since last season.
He can hold his own as a shooter as well, having shot over 36 percent in his last two seasons with the Wizards, despite shooting 33.3 percent this season before he was injured. A lot of Houston’s potential to snag him off the market depends on his health, but if he becomes available (and he just did), he would a solbeid addition for the Rockets and fill a sever need of the team.
4. Michael Beasley
In a swap keeping him in the same city, the Los Angeles Lakers dealt Michael Beasley to the Los Angeles Clippers on deadline day in a three-player trade. The Clippers have already bought out Marcin Gortat and appear all in on the future, with Beasley likely being next to be on the buyout market.
If so, Beasley could be nice piece for the Rockets, who could use a little added size. He isn’t quite the sharpshooter that other Houston players are, but his ability to score off isolation would make him a very valuable member of the bench.
Mike was starved for playing time with the Lakers this season, but the opposite would be the case with the Rockets. They need more forwards, and he would be a viable veteran that can fill a role similar to what Josh Smith did for the team in 2016.
Last season with the Knicks, Beasley had 21 games scoring 20 or more points. If he can channel that for a couple games in the playoffs, then he would be worth the pick up.
3. Wayne Ellington
After being moved to the Phoenix Suns via trade, Ellington worked quickly to hit the buyout market and has plans to sign with a team destined for the postseason. His minutes dwindled in Miami this season, a product of the Dwyane Wade retirement show, but the veteran shooting guard has been having a great couple of seasons in South Beach.
Ellington is a career 38 percent 3-point shooter who can play viable defense, averaging a steal this season. His skill set isn’t something the Houston Rockets are currently missing, but they will happily take in as many extra shooters as they can get their hands on. Ellington would also provide another player to help provide minutes relief for James Harden and Chris Paul down the stretch of the season.
2. Dewayne Dedmon
After heavy speculation that he would be traded prior to the deadline, Dewayne Dedmon remains with the Atlanta Hawks, but he appears destined for the buyout market. Dedmon would provide the Rockets with a big backup center, letting them slide Kenneth Faried down to more minutes at the power forward position.
Dedmon would be one of the best options on the market as far as defensive players, as well. Averaging 10.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.0 steal, and 1.0 block, he would be a great two-way center for Houston. Dedmon has even proven he can step out and hit the three with consistency, as he is making 1.2 a game for Atlanta on 37.4 percent shooting.
If the Hawks buy him out, he would be a no brainer for Daryl Morey and the Rockets front office.
1. Enes Kanter
Bringing in Kenneth Faried midseason helped Houston add another big to their rotation, but with Clint Capela still set to be out a little longer and the team looking to add scoring help for James Harden, Enes Kanter could be a great addition.
Despite falling out of graces in New York as the Knicks shifted their focus to the coming offseason, Kanter has plenty of production to offer a playoff team. This season, the center is averaging 14.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game and is practically a walking double-double.
He doesn’t bring much to the table defensively and isn’t the best rim protector, but he would give Houston an extra scoring option when Harden sits and has the post game to fetch them a bucket when necessary.