Trade Rumors: Rockets, Lakers, Brown, LaVine, Finney-Smith

The Rockets know they’re not close enough to championship contention to aggressively push at this season’s trade deadline for marginal upgrades to their rotation, but they’re still unlikely to stand pat, says Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required).

Among the Rockets’ potential needs are a rim-protecting center who could be a lob threat on offense, another play-maker, and a wing shooter, Feigen writes. However, as he considers possible deals, general manager Rafael Stone will have to weigh whether a new addition might take away minutes from players whom Houston would like to see get regular playing time in the second half.

As one person with knowledge of the club’s thinking tells Feigen, the Rockets are still at a stage where they’re more likely to seek “good value” trades rather than targeting a specific position or need.

Here are a few more trade-related notes and rumors from around the NBA:

  • Bruce Brown has long been a player of interest for the Lakers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who said on Friday’s episode of NBA Countdown that if Indiana hadn’t blown away the competition by offering a $22MM starting salary in free agency, there’s a “very good chance” the veteran guard would’ve signed with Los Angeles for their mid-level exception (YouTube link). Wojnarowski added that the Lakers continued to express interest in Brown while he was a Pacer and figure to be in contact with the Raptors, who will have no shortage of suitors for the 27-year-old.
  • Even before his latest injury, no trade market had materialized for Zach LaVine, says K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. While it’s possible that could change before the February 8 deadline, Johnson suggests that teams have yet to seriously engage with the Bulls on LaVine, who is expected to be out for at least a week or two.
  • Nets forward Dorian Finney-Smith is the second-oldest player on Brooklyn’s roster and might be a better fit with a contender than with his current team, which holds a 17-24 record. That has made him a popular subject of trade rumors leading up to next month’s deadline, but he’s tuning out that speculation, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes. “It always gets weird around this time in the NBA,” Finney-Smith said prior to Friday’s win. “Just can’t focus on the outside noise. That’s part of it. There’s nothing you can do about it. We’ve all got social media, so you’re going to hear it. It ain’t real. It’s a whole bunch of chit-chatter until something officially happens. I’m a Brooklyn Net, and I want to win. That’s all that matters.”
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