The Houston Rockets are in a much different place now than they were a week ago when they faced off against the Los Angeles Lakers. Since then, the Rockets have traded superstar guard James Harden as part of a blockbuster four-team trade to the Brooklyn Nets.
The Rockets now enter a new era of basketball that currently includes John Wall, Victor Oladipo and DeMarcus Cousins leading the way. It will be interesting to see how the team pivots after this season as they get some salary-cap relief. Will they look to contend, or will they blow it up?
Regardless, one thing is for certain:
The Los Angeles Lakers broke the Houston Rockets… again.
The Lakers broke the micro-ball Rockets back in the NBA Playoffs after thoroughly defeating them in a gentleman’s sweep. This led to Russell Westbrook’s desired departure as well as the team trading Robert Covington.
The purple and gold then went into Houston, made easy work of them two games in a row and that was the breaking point for Harden. He told the media that the Rockets simply were not good enough, and as distasteful as his comments seemed, he was not wrong. They simply were not good enough to hang with a team like the Lakers.
Now the Rockets definitely cannot hang with the Lakers and it would be very surprising to see the team even make the NBA Playoffs at this point. Because of that, Houston might look to trade and valuable assets throughout the season to get as much as they can out of this strange 2020-21 season.
The Lakers are not going to be in the market for any bigger role players (such as P.J. Tucker) as the salaries just do not match up. I previously wrote about how Tucker was a good trade target in LA, but that was before the team extended Kyle Kuzma. Now, Tucker does not really make a ton of sense.
However, there are two lesser role players that the Lakers could target for a package of Alfonzo McKinnie, some exciting young depth in Devontae Cacok and a future second-round pick. Again, not the most polarizing trade, but a trade nonetheless.
Let’s break down those two role players.