The Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen, while talking down a bit of the Yao Ming trade talk, that Adrain Wojnarowski started, reported that the team isn’t likely to make a big deal until the trade deadline nears:
According to one person with knowledge of the Rockets’ thinking, a deal is unlikely until much closer to the February trade deadline. When asked if trading Yao’s contract is more likely to make a deal than the other means to entice cost-cutting teams, the individual said, “I can’t even predict which is more likely.”
As one person with knowledge of their thinking said, the Rockets want “as many arrows in their quiver” as possible when they expect trade talks to pick up. As with the Tracy McGrady trade last season, when nothing was tempting until February, they expect those trade talks to change dramatically closer to the deadline.
There is no question, however, about what they want. The Rockets are willing to gamble on upside. That means a young talent who could grow into something far greater than it is giving his current team. They would love that potential to come from a center, or to at least get a center in a deal.
I love when reporting is so good that I barely need to interject my opinion into something. This is the smart way to play things by the Rockets, and it’s fairly obvious that without Yao, they will be shopping for a big man first. I would guess that this means we will continue to hear scenarios in which DeMarcus Cousins comes to Houston. It only makes sense for all parties to try and hold off on deals until February so that they can have a better outlook on their assets. The Rockets will continue to be big players on the trade market up until the deadline.