The more and more Anthony is mentioned as being traded, the more Houston Rockets keep coming up in conversation because of the assets they can offer. But the burning questions is what are these assets?
They don’t have any high picks to give up like the Clippers. They don’t have a Derrick Favors like the Nets. Or a player to replace Carmelo Anthony like Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls or Danilo Gallinari of the New York Knicks. So what do the Rockets have?
(Please remember that all of the following assets would have to be dealt in a package deal)
- Kevin Martin. Martin is similar to the Nuggets very own J.R. Smith. He is a dynamic scorer capable of putting up points any given night. He has a career scoring average of 17.4 points and is almost automatic from the free throw line. His game is similar to Richard Hamilton with the way he works the screens, but he is a poor defender – partly due to his rail thin body (6-foot-7, 185 pounds). He also has a very unfriendly salary ($36 million/3 years). That alone makes him less valuable due to the Nuggets who are trying to cut salaries. Nuggets interest: Slim, if Denver is forced to trade Anthony they probably wouldn’t be interested in a player like Martin that is grossly overpaid and would impact the Nuggets more with his salary than with his game.
- Aaron Brooks. Brooks gave the Nuggets as well as other teams the idea of how to beat the Lakers – with speed. Brooks averaged 18 points against the Lakers and shot over 42 percent from behind the arc. He followed that by averaging 19.6 points this last season. He also is young, 25, and can still grow in the NBA. The only downside is his size and that doesn’t seem to bother him. Nuggets interest: Slim, The Nuggets have their point guard of the future in Ty Lawson, it would be very odd of them adding another player of similar size to their squad.
- Shane Battier. Battier is one of the best teammates/players to have on a team. Due to his team-first attitude that teams love. He is versatile enough to play small forward and power forward and is smart enough to defend the Kobe Bryants in the NBA. He also has an expiring contract that is always tempting to NBA teams. However, Battier game is dropping as his age rises. He is turning 32 in two days and shot below 40 percent from the field. Nuggets interest: Mid, with an expiring contract and with his attitude, Battier would be a somebody that the Nuggets would be interested in.
- Jared Jeffries. Jeffries is long and versatile, he is also a great defender who plays the pick and role very well. He has an expiring contract, similar in size to Battier. However, he brings little to nothing on offense. And hinders all teams that he has played for. Nuggets interest: Slim, Denver would be interested in Jeffries due to his defense, but the Nuggets aren’t going to give up their franchise player for a scrub. Maybe for J.R. Smith, but not for Anthony.
- Jordan Hill. Hill struggled early in his rookie season, enough though that the Knicks gave up on him and traded him in February to the Rockets. He doubled his scoring average (but still didn’t break double-digits) and did solid enough. However, he only played 47 games and failed to grab double-digits in rebounds in any games. At 23, he still has potential but he has to prove something soon. Nuggets interest: Slim, again the Nuggets would be interested in him – but not for a player of Anthony’s quality. He is worth a gamble, but at a far less price.
- Patrick Patterson. Patterson was a beast at Kentucky and did what was asked of him. He could develop into a Carl Landry-type role and has workman like attitude. Patterson left as a junior and is still developing his game. Patterson isn’t overly large (6-9, 235) and doesn’t have the ceiling that other rookies have – but he is steady. Nuggets interest: High, he doesn’t have the potential that Favors has nor the size but Patterson has the attitude and work ethic to have a similar role to David West and Carl Landry in the NBA.
- Courtney Lee. Lee is on his third team in three years and it isn’t like he is a bad player. Lee can contribute on offense (12.5 points last season) and is a good enough defender to get thrown on Bryant in the NBA Finals as a ROOKIE. He has also been compared to Hamilton due to his size (6-5, 200) and intelligence. Lee, who is on the verge of being 25, will doubtfully develop into a top scorer in the NBA. Nuggets interest: High, Lee is a similar player to Arron Afflalo and Denver really like Afflalo. However, it is hard to see Denver trading Carmelo Anthony just to get another Afflalo.
- Chase Budinger. Budinger is another young player that would peak the Nuggets interest. He is better at the small forward position and is very intelligent basketball player. He is a great shooter, with good ballhandling skills and is very athletic. His game has been compared to Brent Barry. Downfall is he doesn’t have a high ceiling and also is injured. Budinger is more skilled to be a role player instead of a focal point of an offense. Nuggets interest: High, Budinger is young, smart and a good shooter. But he also isn’t worthy of dealing Anthony for.
- Draft picks. Outside of owning their own picks, the only pick that may be remotely interesting is the option to switch with the New York Knicks. Without Anthony on their team it would be hard to see the Knicks compete, they might make the playoffs but more as a lower end playoff squad.
So the bottom line is while the Rockets do have assets (Patterson, Budinger, Hill, Lee and expiring contracts). They don’t have any players that has enough potential for the Nuggets to deal Anthony to the Rockets. The closest deal that would have to be built around Martin, Patterson, Budinger and draft picks, but that would be acceptable if the Nuggets wouldn’t have any other options.
Sorry Rockets fans.