Rockets Emerging As Suitor For Caldwell-Pope

The Rockets are emerging as a potential suitor for Lakers wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic. While no deal is imminent and Houston isn’t the only club interested in Caldwell-Pope, the Rockets appear to be targeting the 25-year-old in multi-team trade scenarios, according to Charania.

On Sunday, we heard that the Lakers and Suns had discussed trade scenarios in which Trevor Ariza would land in Los Angeles and the Lakers would trade away Caldwell-Pope. However, KCP has the power to veto any trade and almost certainly wouldn’t want to end up with the NBA-worst Suns, who in turn wouldn’t have much use for another wing. As such, the Lakers and Suns are said to be on the lookout for a third team to help facilitate a possible deal.

[RELATED: At least eight teams have inquired on Trevor Ariza]

The Rockets make some sense as that third team, given their need for another three-and-D player. Houston would also be a much more favorable landing spot than Phoenix for Caldwell-Pope if he hopes to play a regular role for a contending team this season.

However, the Rockets’ best salary-matching piece in the range of Ariza ($15MM) and Caldwell-Pope ($12MM) is Brandon Knight ($14.63MM), and Houston can’t send him back to Phoenix during the 2018/19 league year, since the Suns traded him away in August. As such, the Rockets, Lakers, and Suns would likely need to search for a fourth team to acquire Knight and draft picks, sources tell Charania.

Ariza and Caldwell-Pope will become trade-eligible on Saturday, so it’s possible that these talks will get more serious at that point.

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20 thoughts on “Rockets Emerging As Suitor For Caldwell-Pope

  1. Johnny h

    It’s beyond a longshot that Ariza ends up with the Lakers. Not sure why you keep posting these articles that are designed to frame it as something that has a good chance of happening.

    • frankgrimes

      It’s not beyond a long shot at all and if it’s getting reported like it is then there is probably some serious validity to it. I’ve seen crazier trades go through.

    • Luke Adams

      I’d disagree that it’s “beyond a long shot” or that we’re presenting it as if it’s likely to happen. It’s a rumor that’s popped up multiple times from separate outlets this week, so it seems clear it’s been discussed, even if it doesn’t end up going down.

      • Why would the rockets help the lakers get the player they need and take on a player that’s another small 2 guard. Why wouldn’t the rockets just go after Ariza

        • Luke Adams

          It’s almost impossible for the Rockets to directly acquire Ariza without the involvement of a third team because of the Knight restriction, so their leverage is somewhat limited.

          I don’t think the difference between Ariza’s and KCP’s salaries should be overlooked either. It may seem relatively inconsequential, but the $3MM gap would have a big luxury-tax impact, and Tilman Fertitta hasn’t seemed all that enthusiastic about paying a big tax bill unless the Rockets are legitimately in the mix for a title.

          • That’s fair. Just seems to me if it still wouldn’t be a clean 3 team trade and would need a 4th anyways if I were the rockets there is no way I’d help the lakers improve. Especially by acquiring the guy they are missing so badly

      • Johnny h

        Fair enough. I could have been more precise with my language. I just think it’s being presented as more likely to happen than it is, mostly because there are teams that are in better position to offer Phoenix what they’d need, and I think Arizas value to contending teams is going to end up fetching the Suns a pretty penny. Even with a third team involved, the Lakers aren’t gonna pull off an Ariza deal without surrendering more than KCP and some second rounders.

        We’ll see how it shakes out though.

        • Luke Adams

          That’s reasonable. I agree that there are plenty of other options for where the Suns could send Ariza — the Lakers are just the only team whose interest has been specifically reported so far, which is why our Ariza posts this week have focused mostly on them.

          • Johnny h

            I’d argue that the Lakers’ offseason moves put them in a bad spot
            In regards to tradeable assets that they’d actually be willing to move. Ditching Randle looks horrible in hindsight and none of the vets they signed are gonna fetch anything worthwhile. Given that they aren’t yet ready to move any of the young nucleus, they have little of value to offer in terms of subtle upgrades to the team in the short term. The viable, realistic options are A) break up the youth movement for win-now guys, accept being a non-choice tender this year and cross your fingers for July.

  2. This actually might be a good move for the Rockets. Here’s a guy they could definitely acquire, and he would help a little bit with shooting and a lot with defense. He’s almost a wing type more of a guard though. I think he’d help. Only a one-year commitment too.

    • Johnny h

      Rockets are in a tough spot. The reality of their cap sheet is that they don’t have the contracts to flip for a high paid veteran without a third team to facilitate, and they have really nothing of value they’d be willing to trade beyond all of their future draft picks.

      It’s looking dim for their prospects of adding much beyond young guys on cheap deals or a couple of dudes from the buyout market unless they are willing to part with something close to the haul they were reported to have offered for Butler.

  3. Rockets would be crazy if they helped the Lakers get the guy they need in Ariza. Doesn’t make sense to acquire a 6’5 200lb Guard when the need is at forward.

  4. The Cavs say on CavsNation that they are willing to take Brandon Knight for J.R. Smith. Also they say via Amico Hoops that Love, Thompson, and Sexton are the only 3 untouchable players, and they’d like to draft Barrett or Williamson.

  5. Knight for JR is like two unhappy guys trying to swap wives. They both know it really doesn’t solve anything, and might make things worse, but it does bring change, and with it hope, at least for a few weeks.

    If Houston was the Lakers, they’d call Phoenix and try to get them to move in as that always lucky third team – and take JR for Ariza.

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