I'll do a real feature on this next week that goes over all the changes that this team will undergo with its new players, but I wanted to get some of these thoughts down on paper while the moment was still fresh. So, in a vacuum, here's what I think about both trades:
Rockets acquire Hasheem Thabeet, DeMarre Carroll, and a future first round pick (2013 or later, lottery protected) for Shane Battier and Ishmael Smith
I actually don't like this trade very much at all now that the details are on the table. I understand the move, but it doesn't seem like much of a return at all for Battier. Thabeet makes sense as a potential developmental center for this team, mainly because we're all sick of Chuck Hayes starting there. On the other hand, getting drafted #2 overall means that you're not making chump change. Thabeet is slated to make a little over than $5 million next season, and right now, he is not a $5 million dollar player. It'll likely be an expiring contract, and there's still a slim chance the Rockets can turn him around, but that's not very much bang for the buck when it comes to upside.
The real winner in this deal was supposed to be the first round pick, but between waiting until at least 2013 to claim it and the fact that it's lottery protected, what's the point? If Zach Randolph declines, the Grizzlies might not be making the playoffs anytime soon afterwards. The best case scenario is that they float around in that #7-#8 hole for three more years, but even then all the Rockets would get is a chance to pick at #15 or so. In three years. Feh.
Like I said, I understand this deal, Shane Battier is on his last legs and would've been a free agent at the end of the year. But it really doesn't add a whole lot to the cupboard, especially when you consider the type of rumors Battier had been getting thrown into since the beginning of the year.
(Insert pithy sentence about Ish Smith and DeMarre Carroll that makes it seem like either of them matter here.)
Rockets acquire Goran Dragic and a 2011 first round pick (Phoenix's if they make the playoffs this season, Orlando's if they don't) for Aaron Brooks
This trade is a lot easier to get behind. Dragic is not a superstar by any means, but if there is a drop-off from Dragic to Brooks, it's not a very noticeable one. In fact, Dragic is probably a better defender even if he is a bit more turnover prone. Add in the fact that Dragic has a cap-friendly (a little over $2 million) team option for next season, while Brooks would've been a free agent, and it's a no-brainer to swap the two players on the Rockets end. They're around equal value and Dragic is going to be cheap a season longer, which allows them to either keep the cycle going next trade deadline or see if Dragic is willing to take a cheaper contract than Brooks was.
Add on the first round pick, which even in a weak draft is not a completely negligible asset, and the Rockets did a very typical Morey job on this deal. Even if Aaron Brooks is a good bet to do a Leandro Barbosa impersonation in the Suns offense, I'd much rather be on the side with the first round pick and the added flexibility.
Best of luck to Brooks in his new home. I know he had been in the midst of a terrible season, but I'll remember the good times with him, and I still think he's as dangerous a scoring combo guard in the game. He's a perfect bench player. If only he realized that.