Rockets Trading Garuba, Washington, Picks To Hawks

The Rockets are shipping out two young players still on their rookie scale deals, center Usman Garuba and point guard TyTy Washington, plus two future second-round draft picks and $1.1MM in cash considerations, to the Hawks in exchange for the draft rights to 2017 No. 60 pick Alpha Kaba, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter links).

The picks the Hawks will be receiving are the Timberwolves’ 2025 second-round selection and Houston’s own 2028 second-rounder, per Williams. Atlanta has trade exceptions available to absorb Garuba and Washington without sending out any of the team’s own players.

Garuba, 21, might be able to carve out legitimate rotation minutes for a reconfigured Hawks frontline missing longtime starting power forward John Collins, who is being sent to the Jazz. The 6’8″ big man appeared in 75 games off the bench for a rebuilding Houston team last year, his second NBA season. He logged averages of 3.0 PPG on .486/.407/.617 shooting splits, 4.1 RPG and 0.9 APG in 12.9 MPG.

Upon being drafted out of Kentucky with the No. 29 pick last summer, the 6’3″ Washington played sparingly for Houston as a rookie in 2022/23, averaging 4.7 PPG, 1.5 APG and 1.5 RPG in just 31 contests. He posted much more robust numbers with Houston’s G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, averaging 26.6 PPG, 7.6 APG, 6.6 RPG and 1.6 SPG.

Kaba, a 6’10” power forward/center, is currently playing for Montenegrin club KK Budućnost and seems unlikely to ever play at the NBA level.

For Atlanta, this appears to be an asset-gathering move, as the team adds future draft equity and two intriguing young prospects under cheap team control.

As for the Rockets, Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype tweets that Houston now has carved out $29MM in available space under the salary cap. The team also opens up a couple extra roster spots and now has 11 players on guaranteed contracts for 2023/24, including Fred VanVleet, whose deal isn’t yet official.

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