DECEMBER 16TH: Houston maintains its interest in Corey Brewer, as the team’s coaches are enamored with him, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. Still, no deal is imminent, according to Wolfson, as the Rockets’ self-imposed Friday deadline draws near.
DECEMBER 10TH: The Rockets have once more ratcheted up the intensity of their pursuit of a trade as they seek to use a trade exception worth nearly $8.375MM, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Houston wants to make a move by December 19th, since the Rockets could flip whomever they acquired in a deal that aggregates salary before the leaguewide February 19th trade deadline, Wojnarowski writes. That jibes with last month’s report from Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, who wrote then that the team was in active talks regarding as many as a dozen players whom GM Daryl Morey and his staff were eyeing. It appeared then that the club wanted to make a move even before this coming Monday, when most offseason signees become eligible to be traded, though there’s been little chatter involving the Rockets since.
A pair of teams thought they had momentum on deals with the Rockets, but that fizzled as it appears Morey has moved on to different discussions, Wojnarowski hears. It didn’t appear as though the Rockets were prioritizing any particular position last month, but this time around the emphasis is on wings and frontcourt players, according to Wojnarowski, somewhat narrowing the field. Feigen suggested that the team was targeting an upgrade to the rotation who could be packaged with other players in return for a star at the deadline. Teams can’t make trades that aggregate the salary of a player they’ve acquired via trade within the last two months, and while there are ways to package players without aggregating their salaries, it’s easier not to have to work around that restriction.
The trade exception is left over from this summer’s unloading of Jeremy Lin to the Lakers. Houston can acquire a player, or players, whose salaries come up to as much as $100K more than the value of the exception. It doesn’t expire until next summer, even though the Rockets are anxious to use it soon. The Rockets were among the teams in pursuit of Corey Brewer last month, and while Brewer rumors have since died down, Tuesday’s suggestion from Timberwolves coach/executive Flip Saunders that his team is switching into a rebuilding mode could kick start that talk, though that’s just my speculation.
Houston’s self-imposed deadline, two months before the actual trade deadline, evokes memories of a similar target date last year when the Rockets were aggressively shopping Omer Asik. Nothing materialized on Asik last December, and Morey waited until July to ship him to New Orleans.