Yahoo Sports reports
The New Orleans Hornets acquired Trevor Ariza Wednesday in a four-team, five-player trade that also sends point guard Darren Collison to the Indiana Pacers, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
The deal also sends Pacers forward Troy Murphy to the New Jersey Nets and Nets guard Courtney Lee to the Houston Rockets. In addition to landing Collison – the young point guard they’ve been searching for all offseason – the Pacers also have to take on forward James Posey, who has two years and $13.5 million remaining on his contract.
Darren Collison put up 20ppg and 8apg while playing plus defense for the Hornets last season while starting for half the year. He has star potential. Giving him up for anything less than a youthful star in return is a mistake.
And that is exactly what the Hornets have just done by trading Collison for Trevor Ariza.
Excellent move by the Pacers. They gained a very talented young point guard in Darren Collison + dumped Troy Murphy. And it only cost them another year of Posey’s contract.
Moving Troy Murphy will be an addition by subtraction.
Kevin Martin + Courtney Lee makes Houston very small on the wings. Both are small SGs who cannot play the three. Lee is a lousy rebounder and Martin is below average himself. Also, Lee has struggled against Kobe Bryant in the past which makes them more vulnerable against their biggest rival.
The Rockets needed Trevor Ariza’s size, athleticism defensive ability and rebounding on the wing. He is a very big loss for the Rockets … and that loss will become greater and greater as Shane Battier continues to age.
New Jersey Nets
Troy Murphy can’t defend his own shadow. The Nets already have two better power forwards on their roster with Favors and Humphries. Paying $10+ million to a guy who makes you worse + losing a very good young and cost effective role player like Courtney Lee is a very poor move.
Some Other Thoughts
Indiana Pacers + Danny Granger
Are Indiana planning on switching Danny Granger to the power forward position?
The Pacers played him a lot at the four last season and usually played better with him at that position than out on the wing (albeit due to their flawed roster rather than Danny being more effective there).
Reserves — Price + D.Jones + S.Jones + McRoberts
Indiana Pacers Future
Darren Collison + Paul George + Danny Granger.
That is a very promising trio of perimeter players to build around long term. Add some quality big men, particularly a defensive anchor and some rebounders, and given time, that should become a very good playoff quality team.
Indiana have done a tremendous job this summer with this trade and their draft pick. Completely transformed their future.
Houston = Money Over Winning?
Very disappointing to see the Rockets sacrifice a superior and much needed role player in Trevor Ariza for an inferior more cost effective option in Courtney Lee.
This bodes badly for the Rockets future … a sign that they value money over winning.
The Rockets have now cut about $14 million off their payroll by dumping David Andersen’s + Trevor Ariza’s contracts. They need to move another $4 million to get below the luxury tax. Given their recent moves, it looks very likely that they’ll attempt to do that.
The most likely package is Jared Jeffries + picks or Jordan Hill to a team below the cap.
On a final note — I still believe the Rockets are willing to pay the tax if they can land a star talent to put them over the top … but this move clearly states that they are unwilling to do so for role players and a perceived uncertain shot at a title.
Update: Rockets Get Trade Exception
A quote from Daryl Morey in the Houston Chronicle
The Rockets will save almost $10 million in salary and luxury tax with the deal, but Morey said they would have made the trade regardless of the financial benefit. He has been authorized to use the $6.3 million trade exception the Rockets received in the deal.
“Picking up the trade exception was really important to us, but our target was Courtney Lee,” Morey said. “For sure, Mr. (Leslie) Alexander (the Rockets owner) is OK with using our $6.3 million trade exception. He has approved it to use that if we can acquire a player to help us win.”
There were also multiple articles citing Morey’s high level of interest in Courtney Lee. Saying that they have pursued him for two years ever since the draft and that they were very happy to have finally landed their man. Morey compared their hunt for Lee to their pursuit of Kyle Lowry a year and a half ago.
It appears that Morey may truly evaluate Courtney Lee as the superior player over Trevor Ariza.
If Morey follows this up by using his trade exception on another quality role player that would eliminate any misgivings about the Rockets intent behind this deal.
Note: I still consider Ariza to be the vastly superior player over Lee + this deal to be a losing proposition for the Rockets.