The Houston Rockets made the first blockbuster trade in the 2021 season, trading James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets. One of the fallouts from this move is the Victor Oladipo trade, as the former Indiana Pacers star landed in Houston. More on that in a second, though.
Harden, an NBA superstar, was quite the storyline in Houston this season. After requesting a trade, Harden seemed to throw in the towel in 2021. It looked like Harden had gained a significant amount of weight in the offseason, and had some off-court issues in the Houston strip clubs.
Even former teammate, Demarcus Cousins, had something to say about Harden’s presence on the Rockets.
DeMarcus Cousins spoke strongly about James Harden and his comments criticizing the Rockets' roster. pic.twitter.com/wVARUZJNWA
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 13, 2021
After shaking things up, the Rockets received quite a big haul for their bearded superstar, including significant draft capital and former all-star, Victor Oladipo.
After landing in Houston, Oladipo may be looking to move on already. Oladipo has expressed his interest in joining the Miami Heat, so South Beach may be his new home, but in the NBA, players don’t have the ultimate stay in where they land.
Here are three possible trades for the Rockets and Victor Oladipo:
#1. Rockets trade with Mavericks
Rockets trade away: Victor Oladipo, PJ Tucker
Rockets receive: Tim Hardaway Jr, Josh Green, Boban Marjanovic, 2024 1st round-pick
The Rockets make an excellent deal here and move Oladipo and Tucker for some expiring contracts, a young talent, and a first round-pick.
At this point, the Rockets are likely going to be entering rebuild mode, so young talent and draft capital is what they’re looking for when unloading players.
Josh Green is a promising prospect with good basketball sense and ridiculous athleticism. Tim Hardaway and Boban will both be nice rotational pieces for the year before their contract expires and they hit the open market.
The Mavs get two starters in this deal and set themselves up very nicely. With Oladipo in the backcourt alongside Luka, the Mavericks would have the best 1-2 punch in the NBA. PJ Tucker at forward would also give them a premier defender in the frontcourt to defend guys like Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James.
Both teams win in this deal.
#2. Rockets trade with Raptors
Rockets trade away: Victor Oladipo, Danuel House Jr.
Rockets receive: Norman Powell, Terence Davis, Patrick McCaw, Stanley Johnson, 2022 1st round pick
The Rockets trade away their star player, Victor Oladipo, and solid role player, Danuel House Jr, and receive a plethora of expiring contracts and young talent.
The Rockets would most likely keep Powell and Terence Davis as building blocks for this rebuilding team, while letting the other two players finish the year before entering free agency.
The fact that a draft pick is included makes this deal even more enticing for the Rockets. This would be a great return for a player that they want to move on from.
The Raptors make a move that dramatically improves their chances of getting back into the playoffs. Although Powell has been a key piece to the Raptors’ recent success, his struggles this season have hurt the Raptors and made him one of the more trade-able pieces for the franchise.
This deal would only work if Oladipo commits to a long-term deal with the Raptors. If he won’t sign an extension in Toronto, this would be unlikely. If Oladipo does sign, the Raptors will get the closer that they’ve been looking for.
#3. Rockets trade with Denver Nuggets
Rockets trade away: Victor Oladipo
Rockets receive: Gary Harris, 2021 1st-round pick, 2024 2nd-round pick
This deal isn’t optimal for Houston, but if there is really a hurry to get Oladipo out of town, this is a decent return.
Gary Harris is a serviceable shooting guard who can defend and shoot the ball. He would complement John Wall very nicely.
The Rockets also receive a 2021 first-round pick in this deal which they can use to immediately improve their team with young talent.
The Nuggets add a premier shooting guard without having to give up any of their young stars. Even if Oladipo is merely a rental, the Nuggets would be making their roster one of the most complete teams in the NBA.
The Denver Nuggets were only a few games away from making the NBA Finals last season, maybe an upgrade like Victor Oladipo would get them over the hump.
The Rockets have had quite an eventful 24 hours, but it doesn’t seem like their work is done. It’s rebuild time in Houston, and Victor Oladipo may be the first one to go. Only time, however, will tell if the franchise attempts to keep the superstar or if a Victor Oladipo trade is inevitable.