The NBA’s trade deadline came and went on Thursday without the Houston Rockets making a move. It felt weird. Wrong, even. They’re the Rockets. General manager Daryl Morey is the captain of futzing and fiddling. Surely he could have done something, anything, however insignificant.
With the NBA’s second-best record, though, the Rockets weren’t focused on shaking anything up. They were never going to lop off the final two years of Ryan Anderson’s contract without including some sort of sweetener, and their roster, at full strength, is already one of league’s most well-rounded.
Plus, you know, Morey knows the buyout market is about to get cray-cray, as teams agree to part ways with veterans on expiring contracts who don’t fit their timeline. As he told reporters after Houston’s idle deadline, per the Houston Chronicle‘s Jonathan Feigen:
“We’re feeling good about potential buyout players,” Morey said. “Obviously, we’ll see how that materializes over the next few days, but we think there are players who could be available that could help us. We’d be looking for depth. It would be hard to get someone who would play.
“It would be hard for us to get someone as good as Gerald. He’s playing extremely well. But there are some solid players, veteran guys who have helped veteran teams in the past, who could be available. We’re optimistic about one buyout if not more that maybe would work.”
Again: This all feels weird. The Rockets have never not made a move at the deadline under Morey. But what he says makes sense. And the buyout market could end up being fairly robust. Players like Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson might populate the list of options. The Phoenix Suns and Tyson Chandler, who has one year left on his deal after this one, could work something out.
Someone, somewhere, we’re not expecting to punch a ticket out of town will end up available. And the Rockets, as one of the NBA’s foremost contenders, and with around $2.5 million in breathing room under the luxury tax, figure to be one of the most desirable landing spots for those newly-minted free agents.