The Houston Rockets have officially found themselves in an even worse spot due to injuries than they were previously. As of Monday morning, it almost didn’t seem as though that was possible, but things took a big turn when the news on center Clint Capela came down.
With the Rockets already shorthanded as Chris Paul and Eric Gordon are sidelined, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski revealed, a thumb injury suffered by Capela proved to be worse than originally thought. The young big man’s MRI showed ligament damage, and in turn, he’ll now miss four-to-six weeks and the Rockets remain thin across the roster.
Houston is currently left with veteran Nene Hilario and 2017 second-round pick Isaiah Hartenstein as their main options to start at center. Due to the obvious need inside, trade rumblings have ramped up, so we’re going to take a look at a few potential players the Rockets could target as replacements for Capela.
Enes Kanter, New York Knicks
The New York Knicks already have interest in moving Kanter, but whether or not it pans out remains to be seen. The 26-year-old is in the final year of his current deal but has a lofty cap hit of more than $18.6 million this year, per Spotrac. If the Knicks were willing to take on two players the Rockets don’t use all that often along with possibly a second-round pick, this could happen.
Above is a look at one potential deal the two sides could work out (including a pick), courtesy of the ESPN NBA Trade Machine. While the Rockets would need to attach Brandon Knight’s contract to this deal, the big question comes down to how the Knicks feel about him, as well as the value of Marquese Chriss.
Robin Lopez, Chicago Bulls
The situation with the Bulls is an interesting one, as the team is ready to part ways with Lopez, but apparently won’t buy him out. As Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports revealed, if the Bulls bought Lopez out, he’d head to the Golden State Warriors, but that’s not an option.
The Chicago Bulls are adamant that they will not negotiate a buyout with center Robin Lopez, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
If the Bulls were to change course and reach a buyout agreement with Lopez, the Golden State Warriors would be his next destination, sources told Yahoo Sports.
This leaves a potential trade as the best route to go, and the Rockets could likely acquire Lopez without having to give much up. Knight would be needed to cover the salary cap hit, but at this point, it’s likely the Bulls would take anything they can get in exchange for the big man.
Dewayne Dedmon, Atlanta Hawks
As the Atlanta Hawks head squaring towards the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery, there could be a few pieces on the move. One of those is 29-year-old center Dewayne Dedmon, and he’d be an intriguing fit with the Rockets. Dedmon is in the final year of his deal and has a cap hit of $7.2 million which includes incentives, per Spotrac.
The Miles Plumlee addition to the above trade is more of a filler spot, as a deal for Dedmon with just those three players requires the Hawks to give up a player to free cap space. For what it’s worth, I think the Rockets would have to add a draft pick or two onto this deal, as Dedmon is a name who should draw some interest on the open market.