As the NBA trade deadline nears, the Houston Rockets expect to be active, according to a new report from Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle, and they've made clear each of their players is available, though as Justice says, "some are more likely to go than others." Indeed, Shane Battier might be the first player to be dealt due to his combination of "defense and smarts," despite his popularity with the Rockets.
In addition to Battier, Houston also has attractive veterans such as Kevin Martin and Luis Scola. Martin ranks among the league's most efficient scorers despite his unorthodox shooting motion. Scola can score with his back to the basket--a valuable commodity in this league--rebounds, and plays exceptionally hard. They figure to have a high asking price, but if you believe Justice's report, Houston is ready to clean house.
General Manager Daryl Morey appears poised to swing for the fences, having inquired about All-Stars Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul, as well as veteran contributors like Josh Smith and Anderson Varejao, according to Justice. The fact that coach Rick Adelman's contract expires at season's end opens the door for even more change in Houston.
The Rockets expected to contend for a championship this season with the return of center Yao Ming to the lineup, but Yao played 91 minutes over five games this season before suffering a stress fracture in his left ankle, which ruled him out for the rest of the year. Their 25-29 record leaves them little hope for a playoff spot in the competitive Western Conference, meaning the endgame this season will be another mid-tier lottery pick in a weak draft.
Given all these factors, it's very clear that Houston intends to be active in the weeks leading up to the deadline on Feb. 24. Stay tuned to this StoryStream for more details.