Rockets To Trade Ariza, No. 16 Pick To Pistons For Future First-Rounder

UPDATE: This trade is being folded into a larger deal between the Rockets and Pistons, as described in a separate story.

The Rockets are trading Trevor Ariza and the No. 16 pick in tonight’s draft to the Pistons in exchange for a future first-round pick, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Houston will also receive the Lakers’ 2021 second-round pick from Detroit as part of the swap, sending $4.6MM to the Pistons, Wojnarowski adds (via Twitter).

Ariza and the No. 16 pick are part of the package Houston will receive from Portland in exchange for Robert Covington. That deal – and this new one – can’t be completed until after the Blazers make the No. 16 pick tonight. Portland will now be making that pick on behalf on the Pistons.

Ariza, 35, was a solid contributor for the Blazers last season, averaging 11.0 PPG and 4.8 RPG with a .491/.400/.872 shooting line in 21 games (33.4 MPG) after being acquired in a trade-deadline deal. He opted out of the NBA’s restart this summer in Orlando.

Ariza will make $12.8MM this season, so the Pistons will absorb that money using their cap room, reducing the space they’ll have available in free agency. However, it’s not clear yet whether the entire amount will be guaranteed. Portland will have to be guarantee about $7.1MM to make the deal with Houston work, notes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report (via Twitter). If it’s still only partially guaranteed, that would give the Pistons more flexibility.

It remains to be seen if Ariza will be part of Detroit’s plans in 2020/21 — this deal is presumably more about the No. 16 overall pick. New general manager Troy Weaver will now enter tonight’s draft armed with the seventh and 16th selections as he looks to add young talent to the roster.

As for the pick the Pistons are sending out, it will be heavily protected, says James Edwards III of The Athletic (Twitter link). According to Edwards, it’ll be top-16 protected for the next four years, starting in 2021, then top-10 protected for two years and top-nine protected for one year. It would become a second-rounder if it still hasn’t changed hands at that point.

The Rockets, meanwhile, will pick up a pair of future draft picks while clearing enough salary from their books for the coming season to use their full mid-level exception, according to Wojnarowski. While there still may be a number of dominoes to fall in Houston, that MLE could give the Rockets enough spending power to sign a free agent who would help convince James Harden and Russell Westbrook the team can contend in the West.

As ESPN’s Bobby Marks points out (via Twitter), Houston will also create a trade exception in the deal. It’ll be worth Ariza’s guaranteed amount.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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21 thoughts on “Rockets To Trade Ariza, No. 16 Pick To Pistons For Future First-Rounder

  1. GoLandCrabs

    Rockets are a tire fire. They need to hold on to every pick they have since OKC owns their future. Morey knew when to bail.

  2. Dorothy_Mantooth

    I’m trying to figure out which deal is worse; this one (for Houston) or the Sixers Horoford trade (for OKC). At least for Houston, trading Covington and then Ariza does open up the full mid level exemption slot as stated above; however, I don’t understand why they packaged the #16 pick with Ariza as well. Maybe they just don’t like the talent in this draft and are banking on the Pistons pick(s) being higher whenever they come due? I’m sure those Detroit picks are at least Top 6 protected, if not Top 10 so including the pick really doesn’t make much sense for a team that has no draft picks for years to come.

    • Tatsumaki

      Pistons are a garbage team easy to see many don’t value this draft very highly others do. I like what rockets are doing turning big contract players into picks doing a soft rebuild for when they eventually trade westbrook and harden.

  3. hiflew

    Is it just me or does $4.6 million sound like an awful lot for a likely very late 2nd round pick? $3 million used to buy you a pick in the 20s.

    • Luke Adams

      The way Woj reported that was odd. I’ve tweaked our wording, since I think it’s more accurate to say that the cash and Lakers’ second-rounder are just part of the deal — not that the Rockets are spending that much specifically for the pick.

      • hiflew

        Makes sense that way. The way I read it just seemed like the Rockets were taken in by the best used car salesman in the world with that purchase.

    • Rewane

      It makes more sense if you consider it part of the whole trade, basicalky Rockets giving Pistons some cash for taking on Ariza.

  4. Simmons>Russ

    So they are trading away the 16th pick in order to clear some 12 mil cap space?

    They had Covington on one of the leagues best deals traded him for 2 firsts and then flipped a first in order to clear Covington’s deal really…

    So in the end it was really Rob Covington for a first …

    Terrible moves being made in Houston.
    Love how people though Dantoni and Morey were the problem but in reality they tried their best to build around James Harden and then eventually after they got him his best friend, everything turned to crap and now look at them

    • Simmons>Russ

      What makes this funnier is Morey now on the Sixers just traded away one of the worst deals in the league (Al Horford) and in return we got back Danny Green and all of cost us was a first round pick and a second round pick.

      Sixers clear something like 20 mil and it cost us a first, Houston clears 12 mil by basically trading Robert Covington and get a first.

    • hiflew

      Well not really. Because they are getting a future first from Detroit. So they are still getting 2 firsts for Covington, just none of them are this season. Which is probably better for the Rockets anyway.

      • Simmons>Russ

        They get a first from Detroit but it’s heavily protected a likely worse than the 16th they just gave up.

  5. CastielStrife

    Geez… I thought the Covington trade was really good and then they come out and do this? Is Bill O’Brien calling the shots? Awful trade and makes zero sense. As a Rockets fan I definitely am concerned now.

  6. Stat

    It’s starting to feel like Fertita is worrying about the Rockets budget. Not sure why you’d essentially flip RoCo into a heavily protected first

  7. I don’t like the deal from the Rockets standpoint, but, between the two RC related trades, they clear 11.5 mm of cap space (getting them room under the tax line) and get two (2) 1st round picks next year, albeit protected in each case.

  8. Now the pistons have two first round picks for tonight draft. Would a sweet move.

  9. rotofool

    Detroit giving up a future 1st for the 16th & Ariza indicates they are trading up. Either Charlotte with LaMello or the Bulls with Patrick Williams make sense. I’m betting Bulls will be the team dropping down getting Killian Hayes. If Podu goes 16, then you know Bulls have traded down.

    Look for this to be a 4 team deal, HOU POR DET & CHI with vets and picks changing hands.

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