Trade grades: Rockets do well to boost bench; Cavs smartly continue rebuild; Kings make puzzling swap
This three-team trade made plenty of sense for the Rockets and Cavs, but not so much for the Kings
There's still nearly a full day until the 2019 NBA trade deadline, and trades are flying around all over the place. There were multiple trades just on Wednesday afternoon/evening alone.
The latest move is a three-team deal between the Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and Cleveland Cavaliers. The Rockets will ship Brandon Knight, Marquese Chriss and a protected 2019 first-round pick to the Cavaliers, the Cavaliers will send Alec Burks to the Kings, while the Rockets will get Iman Shumpert from the Kings and Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin from the Cavaliers.
There's a lot going on with this deal. Here are the grades for each team.
Houston Rockets: B+
- Iman Shumpert
- Nik Stauskas
- Wade Baldwin
The Rockets had quite the interesting offseason, letting Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute go, trading Ryan Anderson for Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss and signing the likes of Michael Carter-Williams and Carmelo Anthony. Just a few months later, none of those players are still with the team.
They've managed to replace them with Kenneth Faried and Austin Rivers, and now Iman Shumpert, Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin. While GM Daryl Morey deserves blame for his mismanagement of their situation this summer, that's a pretty solid job of fixing things on the fly.
Speaking strictly about this trade, Shumpert is just the type of player the Rockets have been missing since losing Ariza and LRMAM over the summer. He's a versatile defender who has quietly been a solid shooter from outside this season, knocking down more than 36 percent of his 4.4 attempts per game. Plus, he's another veteran presence who's been through the grind of the playoffs and doesn't need the ball all the time.
Wade Baldwin probably won't play much, but Stauskas offers some nice wing depth. He figures to feature in a role similar to Gerald Green's, which means come in and play with a ton of energy for short bursts and launch 3s. He's shooting more than 40 percent on catch-and-shoot 3s this season, and he should get plenty of them playing alongside James Harden and Chris Paul.
They had to give up a first-round pick to get this deal done, but they'll also get out of the last year of Knight's contract, which saves them more than $15 million next year.
Sacramento Kings: C
The Kings are in the midst of their best season in over a decade, and have a real chance to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2006. But while they may be turning things around on the court, it wouldn't be the Kings without some questionable decisions by their front office sprinkled in.
In truth, this deal is nowhere near as bad as some of the decisions they've made over the years, but it is a bit puzzling. Shumpert has been putting together a solid season and providing some veteran leadership on a very young team. "He's a good defender and leads by example as a defender and usually makes the right plays," coach Dave Joerger said just a few days ago. "That's good so we don't get crazy wild all the time and he settles us down."
Now, they've shipped him out for Alec Burks, which is a bit of a puzzling move. He's a better individual scorer than Shumpert, but overall he doesn't really make them any better, and they lose Shumpert's voice in the locker room.
Cleveland Cavaliers: A
- Marquese Chriss
- Brandon Knight
- Rockets' 2019 first-round pick (lottery protected)
This season has been a disaster for the Cavaliers, though that really isn't surprising given they lost the best player in the league in the offseason. Throughout the season, however, they've been making some solid moves as they begin their rebuild. They got two picks from the Bucks in the George Hill deal, two picks from the Jazz for Kyle Korver and two picks from the Trail Blazers in the Rodney Hood deal.
Now, they've flipped Stauskas and Baldwin, who they got in the Hood deal, for another first-round pick -- this one from the Rockets. They'll have to pay Brandon Knight for the remainder of this season and next, but they have to pay someone. Plus, they'll get a look at Marquese Chriss. He doesn't look to be an NBA player, but he's still only 21 years old. Perhaps the Cavs can unlock something there. If not, it didn't cost them anything.
In this trade specifically, they were able to turn two players they had on their roster for approximately five minutes into a first-round pick and an extended look at a former top-five pick. That's some good business.
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