Rockets Notes: Gordon, Martin, Silas

The Rockets have had preliminary trade talks about veteran shooting guard Eric Gordon with approximately a half-dozen teams, a source tells Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

According to Feigen, a number of contenders are expected to target Gordon, given his ability to make outside shots and defend multiple positions. His pseudo-expiring contract, which is non-guaranteed for next season, should also be appealing to potential suitors.

However, Gordon’s cap hit of $19.6MM will make him a tricky piece to move, and the Rockets don’t feel any urgency to get a deal done, given that he remains under contract for 2023/24. Although the 33-year-old’s $20.9MM salary for next season isn’t cheap, Houston projects to have significant cap room and may decide that hanging onto Gordon is the best way to use of a chunk of that room.

The Rockets’ asking price for Gordon remains high, which will also complicate a potential trade. According to Feigen, Houston doesn’t just want a 2023 first-round pick from a contending team, since such a first-rounder would likely end up in the mid- to late-20s. The Rockets would be looking to add a pick in a future season or one from a third team that has a chance of landing higher in the first round, Feigen explains.

Acquiring a future pick may be a more realistic outcome, since three-team deals are complicated and Houston isn’t all that interested in adding a third 2023 first-rounder to its collection with so many young players already on the roster, says Feigen. The Rockets owe their own first-rounders to Oklahoma City in 2024 and 2026, so they may be more inclined to fortify their cache of draft assets in those years (though they do control Brooklyn’s ’24 and ’26 picks).

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • As Shams Charania reported earlier in the week, the Rockets’ asking price for Kenyon Martin Jr. is even higher than their price for Gordon. Feigen classifies Houston as “hesitant” to move Martin, since he’s enjoying a career year and still has room to grow at age 21. Feigen also observes that Martin’s contract would give the Rockets the option of declining his 2023/24 team option to sign him to a long-term contract as a restricted free agent — the club took that path with Jae’Sean Tate this past summer.
  • The proposed three-team trade involving the Rockets, Suns, and Bucks that Charania mentioned on Monday didn’t get very far down the line. According to Feigen, it “never gained traction past the proposal stage or a second phone call.”
  • Stephen Silas rejoined the Rockets for Tuesday’s game just three days after the death of his father Paul Silas and his emotions remained raw before and after his club’s upset win over Phoenix, Feigen writes in another Houston Chronicle story. “Definitely great to be back,” said Silas, who added that his father would have told him to “get his butt out there and coach” his team. “I love these guys. I love this team. I kind of didn’t want the game to end because now, real life starts up again.”
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