We’ve had a feeling for a little while now that the Rockets could used another guard on the roster who could handle the ball and maybe put up a few points as well. And now, with both Chris Paul and Eric Gordon on the sideline (along with Trevor Ariza, though he’s not a ball-handler), it’s become even more imperative that the Rockets need an addition.
We all loved James Harden going into total beast mode against the Orlando Magic, but that performance, along with the 47 minutes of playing time, is simply not sustainable. The Rockets had no choice but to ride Harden, and he responded better than anyone could imagine, but with two guys with lengthy injury histories serving as the other key members of Houston’s backcourt rotation, the Rockets could use an insurance policy.
Well, it appears GM Daryl Morey has been working on just that. According to Philadelphia 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey, the Rockets are among several teams (including Pompey’s hometown Sixers) that have inquired to the Memphis Grizzlies about the availability of versatile guard Tyreke Evans.
The Grizz are going nowhere fast this season, dealing with a number of injuries and an 18-31 record, and with Evans signed only through this season at $3.3 million, he becomes an attractive trade piece, especially since he’s in the midst of a career season.
Evans is averaging 19.5 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal per game. He’s shooting 45.8 percent from the field, and his former woes from beyond the three-point line are a thing of the past, as he’s shooting 39.2 percent from three, making him a perfect fit for the Rockets.
It doesn’t appear that Memphis would be after any substantial players in the deal, and with Tyreke’s salary pretty low, the Rockets could find a way to make it work. What they don’t have right now, however, is a first-round pick, and that’s reportedly what Memphis is holding hard and fast on right now.
Houston sent their 2018 first-rounder to the Clippers in the Chris Paul deal, but they do have a 2019 first-rounder. However, NBA rules prohibit teams from trading first-round picks in successive seasons, but with the February 8 trade deadline fast approaching, and Evans not likely to return to Memphis when his contract expires, the Grizz may be forced to start looking at other offers.
As Pompey mentions in his tweet and in this write-up, the Rockets have plenty of competition for Evans’ services, including the Celtics, Cavaliers, Pelicans, Thunder, and Heat, all teams with winning records, so even if Memphis starts to waver on their asking price, Morey certainly has his work cut out for him.
Still, should he get Evans in the fold, he’d be a mortal lock for Executive of the Year (or at least should be, after also snagging Paul), and the Rockets would have enough serious firepower to even open some eyes in the Bay Area.
Stay tuned in the next week until the deadline. This could get interesting.