Crafting a trade between bitter rivals like the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets is tricky, but this swap of forwards works out for both parties.
I’ve racked the internet and can’t find a single instance in which the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets, two rivaling franchises from the Lone Star State, have made a trade. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough but as far as I can tell, it’s simply never happened. We’re going to make that change with today’s edition of “One offseason trade with every team.”
In reality, I’d be mightily surprised to see these teams interact like that. Most of the time, teams within the Southwest Division will snipe free-agents away from each other to bolster their rosters and sap away from their opponent. Regardless, there aren’t too many logical deals here since the Rockets have $82.5 million dedicated to their star guards.
Therefore, it’d have to be a cap-friendly deal that addresses needs on both rosters and helps to make their ballclub more well-rounded. Houston has totally bought into its 3-point-heavy barrage in what many speculate to be head coach Mike D’Antoni’s last chance to save his career. His GM, Daryl Morey, stood by the coach by shipping center Clint Capela off for 3-and-D extraordinaire Robert Covington at the trade deadline.
RoCo is surely the player that the Spurs would want off the Rockets’ team, but there’s just no way I can see Houston making a trade with the silver and black for a player like him. Therefore, it needs to be one of their auxiliary role players, which bodes well for the Spurs.
An even swap—the San Antonio Spurs receive Danuel House for Trey Lyles.
Though he’s regressed in extended minutes this season, Rockets small forward Danuel House remains an enthusiastic defender with a knack for draining the long-ball. He’s in a similar position to the Spurs power forward Trey Lyles, because they each took on the largest workload of their respective careers this season and had negative on/off impacts on their teams.
Lots of that has to do with everything going on around them because neither is a make-or-break player, but it also suggests an unnatural fit in the rotation. House was asked to play an unusual number of minutes at the power forward spot this season which really harmed his ability to play his game. The Rockets forced him into the corner and didn’t let him roam the floor as much as he has in the past.
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House is an underutilized athlete who is effective on the glass and cuts to the basket really well. He can finish through traffic or muck up a play on defense without needing to command the ball all too often. For a team with too many dominant ball-handlers, that’s a good on-court fit. You’d have to bank on the fact that his 3-point percentage comes back in an offense that lets him be himself more often than the Rockets have this year.
Lyles was awesome in his first year as a started under unlikely circumstances. He wasn’t supposed to have as many minutes as he ended up having, but the Marcus Morris fiasco, Davis Bertans trade and… well… whatever the hell happened with DeMarre Carroll left Lyles with bigger shoes to fill than ever expected. He thrived despite it all and proved himself to be a great floor-spacer who can pass in team sets, roam on defense and rebound like a mad-man.
Both sides get what they need at the positions they need them, but knowing the Rockets, Lyles would end up playing 80 percent of his minutes at center and struggle immensely.
You can find other articles in this series by clicking on the team name below:
Pacific Division: LA Clippers, Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors — Northwest Division: Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves— Southwest Division: New Orleans Pelicans