NBA Roundtable

Houston Trades For Thabeet + Dragic

In Trade Talk on February 25, 2011 at 1:22 pm

A pair of trades here for Houston … ESPN reports

The Rockets sent point guard Aaron Brooks to Phoenix and forward Shane Battier to Memphis in separate deals Thursday that brought guard Goran Dragic, forward DeMarre Carroll and center Hasheem Thabeet to Houston.

The Rockets also get first-round draft picks from both teams, although the one from the Suns for this year is lottery protected. Houston also shipped rookie Ish Smith to the Grizzlies.

Quick Thoughts On Deal

Excellent trades for the Rockets and Suns. Poor trade for Memphis.

  • Hasheem Thabeet can become a Samuel Dalembert level center in a year or two which will give Houston a very good defensive center and rebounder. A long term fixture and anchor to their lineup, something their current squad desperately needs.
  • Aaron Brooks was due for a big contract extension this summer and that should have, and did, make Houston extremely uncomfortable. Trading him for a quality PG in Dragic is a good move.
  • The Grizzlies made a win-now move in acquiring Shane Battier. He’ll help their depth for the next few seasons but a declining 32 year old role player is no match for the potential and productivity of Thabeet over the next decade.
  • The Grizzlies were unable to develop Thabeet properly while glued to the bench behind Marc Gasol so moving him was a good idea. I would have preferred to have seen them target a younger player though.
  • The Suns picked up an excellent backup PG for Steve Nash in Aaron Brooks and strengthened their roster as a result.
  • However, the Suns will likely overpay Brooks this summer and screw up their salary cap situation even more.

Phoenix – Rockets Trade

An update on the draft pick sent by Phoenix to Houston

Suns are sending their 1st-rounder but it is lottery-protected. If the Suns miss the playoffs, Houston gets the Orlando pick the Suns have.

Some quotes from the Suns front office (Lon Babby)

“I want to make sure that we take a moment to thank Goran for his outstanding contributions to our franchise over the last two and a half years. He’s been part of some of our most exciting moments, particularly last year during the playoffs.

Houston initiated these discussions. When it first came our way, we analyzed it closely and concluded that this provided a terrific opportunity for us to improve our backcourt and add an exciting player to our second team, which is so important to our success and really we felt we could improve and that would take a lot of pressure off our starters, in particular Steve Nash.

Babby on whether Brooks is a Nash heir apparent: “I’m not surprised at the question. He’s here to back up Steve Nash now and into the future and I wouldn’t read anything more into it than that. He’s a high-level player and a good player. Part of what we need to do is make it a little easier for Steve. Our first group has played terrifically well and often gets a separation. It’s a little bit of white-knuckle time with our second group. Hopefully, this will takes some pressure off our first unit, including Steve.

Babby on draft choices: “We have two picks in the draft. We’ve essentially traded one of them. If we are in the lottery, we’ll keep the pick. If we’re not in the lottery, that pick will go to Houston. If we are in the lottery, then they would get the Orlando pick that we traded for in December. So we have not traded a lottery pick under any circumstances.”

Lance Banks adds

Blanks on Brooks: “I wouldn’t classify the trade as upgrade. When you look at deals, you look for where the deal might be. With this situation, I think both guys needed a fresh start. I don’t think we could create that for Goran. And I don’t think that Houston could create that for Aaron. So you have an opportunity for a perfect deal for everyone because both guys get to go into a situation where they can be successful. The other thing is their careers are eerily similar. They both probably got off to a slow start in their respective situations and then they both found a comfort zone and then they both had extended moments where they were wildly successful in the playoffs and then, for whatever reasons, both of them had struggled at some level on the floor for whatever reason this season.

Blanks on how Brooks fits the Suns: “Phoenix Suns basketball is very wide open style of basketball play. He can score at the highest levels. He’s had games of high 30s, 40s. He’s put the team on his back and won games. He’s not afraid to make or take big shots. A point guard who has his hands on the ball a lot. That’s something that this system offers. Also, you’re looking at a coach who has the temperament to allow a point guard to do what he does best without having to control the game and allowing the guy with the ball, namely the point guard, to do that. I think the West is built for him with his build and his size and this system is even more so built for him. Play a lot of pick-and-roll. Very good out of pick-and-roll, makes it very difficult to defend.”

Some interesting responses from the Suns front office.

Grizzlies Owner On Thabeet

Some interesting quotes from Michael Heisley on Thabeet

“I don’t know whether it’s a mistake (having drafted Thabeet),” Heisley said. “I look at (giving up Thabeet) with great concern. … I think Houston needs a good center and I think that Thabeet could come back to haunt us. … Absolutely, it’s hard for us (to trade Thabeet). It’s extremely hard. … If he develops, he’s going to be a big factor in this league and we might be eating our words.”

“To tell you the honest truth, we wanted Shane,” Heisley said of the trade made between two teams in the Southwest Division. “So you can’t have everything you want in this world. We had other options (in trading Thabeet), but we wanted Shane. … (Battier is) probably one of the most popular players we’ve ever had.”

The lack of playing time for Thabeet

“The problem is we were fortunate to have a very, very great center in Marc Gasol,” said Heisley, pictured at right. “That didn’t give us a lot of time to put Thabeet on the floor. When you play in the Western Conference, lots of times you play against teams that use four-fives rather than 7-footers (at center). They’re very difficult sometimes for 7-footers to guard. So you have to counter with your own power forward like (Darrell) Arthur (who at 6-7 often plays center with Memphis’ second unit). So it was very tough for us to give him playing time.

“When we drafted (Thabeet), Tony Barone, who’s head of our player personnel thing, said, ‘If you draft him, then you’ve got to play him. He needs to get minutes to develop.’ … We basically never really could find the time for him to get him in the lineup to really develop him as much.”

The Grizzlies also have a top-notch power forward in Zach Randolph, another reason Thabeet had a hard time getting minutes.

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