PHOENIX - OCTOBER 19: Goran Dragic #2 of the Phoenix Suns handles the ball during the preseason NBA game against the Golden State Warriors at US Airways Center on October 19 2010 in Phoenix Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and or using this photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Goran Dragic

Dragic Kingdom: Rockets Send Aaron Brooks To Phoenix For Goran And First Round Pick

Trade Deadline Part II: Death Drives A Stick.

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NBA Trade Deadline: Daryl Morey Talks About Goran Dragic And Hasheem Thabeet Trades

Rockets GM Daryl Morey held a press conference yesterday to talk about the Rockets two trade deadline moves and what they signify for the coming years for the squad. The Rockets remain buried in the lottery, and after sending players away that hypothetically strengthen two of their competitors in the race, Memphis and Phoenix, they aren’t likely to close that gap any time soon.

These moves position us better in the future. The big move that helps us now and in the future did not materialize but we feel like this positions us better in the future to make that move.

It’s obvious that neither Hasheem Thabeet or Goran Dragic are going to change the makeup of this team much right now. There’s a chance Thabeet might, but that’s based on a lot of projection. The Rockets couldn’t get their big deal done, so instead they took baby steps.

Hasheem Thabeet is someone who has the potential to develop into a very significant interior defender, a very significant center over time. Right now he’s not there. Right now, if he was there, we would not have been able to get him. Unfortunately, you cannot acquire 7-3 centers after they become good easily, if at all. So you need to take a chance on a guy who you think has a chance to contribute over time.

Morey speaks from experience here: even guys like Omer Asik and Samuel Dalembert were being protected at the deadline. Things have hit a lull with big men in recent drafts, and taking a chance on one who could still make it does make some sense.

…we felt like Kyle Lowry was our guy to start for the future and Aaron Brooks, as I’ve always said, we think he’s a starter-quality player as well, and very soon both Kyle and Aaron were going to make an amount of money that wouldn’t allow us to have both of them on the roster going forward. So we made a move for Dragic, who we like his potential very much and he’s already contributing and he’ll contribute right away for the Rockets.

No surprise there, Dragic should come in and play minutes immediately for the Rockets. He’ll likely fill the exact same role that Aaron Brooks was in.

So to add a young, recent No. 2 pick, 7-3… guys like Hasheem who have struggled early, if they’ve struggled multiple times in multiple stops, I think the probability of them turning it around is low. Guys who have had difficulty in their first stop, there are many examples of ones who have turned it around. We feel like he’s a good bet and we were very concerned about losing Shane.

That’s some decent reasoning. The Grizzlies could never give Thabeet any playing time to develop at the NBA level. Assuming Thabeet doesn’t wind up in the doghouse of Rick Adelman immediately, like Terrence Williams did, it’ll be interesting to watch Thabeet’s progress over the rest of the year.

Do be sure to check out the whole column. Morey is one of the very few sports media figures in the city that backs up what he says with facts, and even though he couldn’t get a superstar here this season, it’s clear that it wasn’t for a lack of effort.


NBA Trade Deadline: In Goran Dragic, Rockets Get Good Value For Aaron Brooks

In a lot of ways, something had to give. The Rockets weren't going to start Aaron Brooks at point guard, and Aaron Brooks wasn't happy unless he was a starting point guard. They also weren't going to extend his contract this year, and that made their relationship even more tenuous. No matter what the team or their sources said before the deadline, it probably would have been more surprising if Brooks was a member of the Rockets this morning.

Even with all the drama that has gone on this year, our Rockets blog The Dream Shake is going to be kind of sad to see him go.

I really like Aaron Brooks.  I wish him well.  He was a draft pick that showed me that the front office wasn't asleep at the switch.  His offensive ability is simply awesome - I think he'll flourish in Phoenix - and if he's smart - learn something from Steve Nash, and train to be his replacement.  Remember, the PHX system encourages quick three pointers in transition.  It encourages mad rushes to the basket with kick outs to the three.  It isn't defensively minded.  If there's a better home for Aaron Brooks, I'd like to know what it is.

But at the same time, they got pretty good value for him in Goran Dragic, a point guard that has shown promise.

There was no way the Rockets were going to pay Aaron Brooks what he was worth or what he thinks he's worth.  Dragic is $2.1 million next year.  $2.1 million for a PG who has at least shown flashes of a Very High Ceiling.  That 2 PG package Adelman likes to run?  That's going to look sweet with Dragic, I promise.

Dragic has also been disappointing this year, but he is a much more affordable disappointment and he is used to a bench role. He may be a step down in ability, but he is a much better fit for the Rockets. And he came with a first round pick, so that's always nice. We obviously have to wait a little while longer to see how the trade works out, but in a very difficult situation, the Rockets appear to have done pretty nicely.


NBA Trade Deadline: Rockets Among SB Nation's Winners

Underwhelmed by the Rockets returns in these deadline trades? Well, shame on you, mister. You should never question Daryl Morey. Or so says SB Nation basketball editor Tom Ziller, who dubbed the Rockets one of the deadline’s winners

There’s been substantial backlash against Houston GM Daryl Morey over the past year or so, given his lofty status among some analysts but his team’s lack of success. And he’ll get more today: With some quality moves, Houston could have made a run at the last playoff spot in the West. Instead, they’ll continue to score 120 points every other night, and either give up 115 or 125. Shane Battier was the team’s best defender, and they traded him for a pick (which will be useful in the future, but obviously not right now) and Hasheem Thabeet, a player who won’t sniff the rotation under Rick Adelman. They traded Aaron Brooks, who will be a restricted free agent, for Goran Dragic and a first-round pick — there’s another pick — but that’s not making the team much better right now. But look at the plan — acquire picks and prospects for free agents — and look at the results from the superstar trades this week. Why did ‘Melo to the Knicks take so long? Because the Nuggets demanded more picks or prospects. Why did the Nuggets favor the Nets’ offer? More picks, more prospects. The Rockets now have four firsts in the next two drafts, plus Dragic, plus Thabeet. It’s something.

Clearly now the stage is set to chase Dwight Howard, right? Right?!?! Tom?!?!

In general I agree that the backlash against Morey is a bit annoying, but while these trades added some decent assets to the cupboard, it’s hard to go bananas over a bunch of decent assets. Ziller’s right that teams are making these deals with assets, but the Nets trade for Deron Williams included two likely lottery picks, Derrick Favors, and Devin Harris. How many of the assets the Rockets picked up yesterday are on par with anyone in that return?

Morey did the best that he could, but it’s going to take some more Jedi mind tricks for this team to acquire it’s superstar.


Dragic Kingdom: Rockets Send Aaron Brooks To Phoenix For Goran And First Round Pick

According to Arizona Republic reporter and Suns beat writer Paul Coro, the Rockets and Suns completed a trade at the deadline which will send PG Aaron Brooks to the Suns for a package that is "likely" PG Goran Dragic and a first round pick. Yahoo! Sports reporter Marc Spears is now confirming the swap. 

Brooks had fallen out of favor with the Rockets after losing his starting job to Kyle Lowry. He was suspended for a game earlier this month when he left the court during the fourth quarter after being substituted for. Brooks was always more of a combo guard than a pure point guard, but under the Suns tempo, he should fit in a lot like Leandro Barbosa used to for them. Casual fans remember Brooks best for his torching of the Lakers in the 2008-2009 Western Conference Semifinals before the Rockets eventually succumbed in seven games to the would-be champions.

Dragic, 24, showed up on the big stage in much the same way, making a name for himself in the Western Conference Playoffs last season against the Spurs and Suns. Dragic was also having somewhat of a lost season for the Suns, as he is shooting just 42% from the floor and under 30% on three-pointers. The Rockets will be counting on a return to form for Dragic while pocketing a first round pick for their troubles. 

Dragic has a team option for next season, whereas Brooks will be an unrestricted free agent after the year is over. Regardless of whether you think Brooks or Dragic is the better player, I think it's clear the Rockets win this trade on value. It's a pure challenge trade for the Suns, who are under pressure from their ownership to make the playoffs this season. 

No word yet on when the pick is or what protections are involved with it. As always, we'll update as details become available.

EDIT: Per Jonathan Feigen, here is some news on the draft pick: 

The pick from Phoenix is lottery protected. If the Suns make the playoffs, the Rockets would get the pick the Suns acquired from the Orlando Magic.

No word yet on what happens if the pick rolls over and the Suns miss the playoffs.

EDIT 2: Here is a much better explanation on the draft pick from The Arizona Republic's Paul Coro: 

Phoenix sends Dragic, who has struggled this season, and their June draft pick unless the Suns miss the playoffs. If that becomes a lottery pick, Houston will get the Orlando first-round pick that the Suns received in the December six-player trade.

So there you have it: you want to be rooting for the Suns to make the playoffs so the Rockets will get a higher non-lottery pick.

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