Rockets’ Gamble on Robinson Worth Risk

HOUSTON — Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday and The Sundance Kid had nothing on Rockets G.M. Daryl Morey.

The itchiest trigger finger in the NBA got things rolling in the countdown to the trade deadline by shipping out two power forward candidates who hadn’t panned out and bringing back another with plenty of talent and still something to prove.

Officially, it was Patrick Patterson, Toney Douglas and Cole Aldrich going to the Kings for Thomas Robinson, Tyler Honeycutt and Francisco Garcia and Marcus Morris going to the Suns for a second round draft pick.

But the essence of the deal was the Rockets taking a shot at the 6-foot-10 Robinson, who was the No. 5 pick in the 2012 draft and a bundle of raw ability that many evaluators thought was the No. 2 pick of the litter eight months ago.

In two seasons, Patterson never established himself as a low post player on offense and did not carry his weight as a rebounder. Morris, too, is a decent mid-range shooter who also does not make his presence felt on the glass.

While there were character issues that surrounded Robinson before the draft and he was labeled a problem early in Sacramento and did not bloom, it is a move that is certainly worth the gamble for the Rockets.

If Robinson gets his act together and plays up to his potential, they’ve got a 21-year-old power forward who could fit in nicely on a roster that will now give him all the minutes he needs. If not, he carries a manageable $3.5 million contract that is only guaranteed through next season and also more cap space for free agency next summer. The Rockets were a team that had room to sign a max level free agent and another significant player and now they’ve carved out more room.

It is not on the blockbuster level of Morey’s deal that landed James Harden four days before the season opener. But it’s the kind of shrewd, low-risk deal that could set the Rockets up for an even bigger bang down the line.

31 Comments

  1. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    Rockets want to build around Harden and Jeremy Lin and Asik, etc.

    Howard could leave to join Houston this summer. They probably freed up cap space with some trades. Can the Lakers even afford to keep Howard?

    “Bryant is owed $30.45 million next season, the highest among all the players in the NBA. The Lakers’ payroll is more than $100 million this season and will be as high, if not higher, if Howard signs.”

    “ESPN reports if the Lakers are $30 million over the salary cap next season, their luxury tax bill could be as high as $85 million.”

    (Source: http://aol.sportingnews.com/nba/story/2013-02-22/mark-cuban-comments-lakers-kobe-bryant-dwight-howard-dallas-mavericks)

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      However, if I were Houston, I’d much rather go after someone like Josh Smith because Howard is too injured.

      Plus, they already have Asik, who is in the top ten in Rebounds-per-game.

      Add Josh Smith and the Rockets will be fueled with lots of Rocket-fuel for next season. They could be an elite team.

      That would be an exciting roster, although I’d like to see the Hawks try to keep him.

  2. Eleusis says:

    This move was clearly about being a leveraged gamble on the Rockets part. Maybe Robinson will or won’t pan out but on the economics side of the court its a win win. So even if he is awesome they still have all that cap space and money. So what is the issue? I think its fair to conclude that even if Patterson stayed he was going to be replaced by a big name in the summer anyway so why not have your cake and eat it too?

  3. W/E says:

    Bah the rockets shouldnt even bother making this trade, morris and patterson are young players with potential,theres no need for more rookies and younger players in this team, all they had to do is keep those 2 now that they developed some chemistry and wait for summer to see how it goes and make a move when the season and playoffs end, i dont think this trade was necessary, teams need to have guys with experience a team full of young guys cant compete.

  4. dmh says:

    I am not all that convinced about this trade, unless the purpose was to go from 6 pf’s fo 4-5 pfs. Thomas Robinson got owned by Royce White in college because he was too perimeter oriented even in comparison to White. Granted White is not in shape and is in the Dleague so that part doesn’t matter. However Robinson is not worth the hype. He played behind the Morris twins at Kansas as well. I am not saying that the guy is not athletic, he is. What I am saying is that he does not know how to use his skills for his own good. At least Terrence Jones and D-Mo are around to take the cake until White gets back into shape. Now maybe he can prove me wrong, but maybe I am going to Mars tomorrow as well.

  5. joey boy says:

    KENYON MARTIN for LAKERS and ARENAS…
    HOWARD & JAMISON for CHANDLER & AMARE…
    RIP HAMILTON to CELTICS….

  6. Tushar says:

    One of the best trades I know of for Houston, getting a young guy with lots of potential and picked a few decent guys like Garcia.

  7. Met says:

    An amazing coup by Houston. Robinson is 6’7.75″ which is middle to slightly short for a POW, but he is very strong and plenty athletic. I can’t speak to the attitude issues but talent wise and money wise, this is a no brainer. Especially when Houston already has Parsons and can afford to gamble. … though honestly, I wouldn’t even call it a gamble. They didn’t give up enough to where if it doesn’t work out they are feeling the sting.

  8. Kevin Pogi says:

    terrence jones or d.mo should be given the chance to start….

  9. unb1nd says:

    i like this trade……….now the real T-ROBS is Comming bwahahahahahah! i know T-ROBS is one of the Great ROOKIES now GIVE Him a Quality Minute You got IT!

  10. NBAfan35 says:

    The Morris trade was all about them clearing time for DMo white and jones

  11. Ray says:

    I think it is clear that the Rockets wins to trade with the Kings. Patterson reached his ceilings. He can not stop other big forward in the defense side, names as Aldrich, Cousins, Tompson. Toney Douglas and Cole Aldrich are not very valuable. Robinson has talent to be a very good rebounder and defense player. Rockets has already enough shooters, as Harden, Parsons and Lin. They need defense and rebound.
    But it confused me a little about the trade of Morris. Morris can be a good play to lead the bench. He has chance to become stronger, more offensive, like Odom in Lakers. He can provide some scores for the bench.

    • David says:

      I completely agree with the fact that we won on the Robinson trade. Hands down, what we needed was to improve our inside scoring and defense. Let’s be honest, Asik needed some serious help in there, and with him off the court the defence was in shambles.

      The reason we traded Morris for the 2nd rounder was for the opportunity to clear up cap space. Granted, Morris was a valuable piece off the bench, but he had clearly limited potential to develop further as a rebounder or an inside defender.

      Look out this summer for Morey and the Rockets to make a splash in free agency.

  12. RedNation says:

    i can see the reasoning behind the patterson trade it was just a matter of time afterall, and although i think the rockets could of made a better trade for him if the held out a bit longer robinson does have potential and it is a low risk trade but why give moriss away for nothing but a second round pick, the guy wanted to play with his brother ok but they could have gotten a solid bench piece in exchange, they just let him walk away disappointing.

  13. Troyerz says:

    I like Patterson but I knew it was just a matter of time before he was moved. Same for Morris.

    The thing with these guys was that they began to fit quite well with the Rockets new style of play. They are two fine players who should do their new respective teams a whole lot of good, even more so as they join up with old team mates (Patterson) and family (Morris).

    But we needed an upgrade at PF. So what we’re waiting to see, is if this new admiral fits the bill (/risk)..

    It’s a wait and see, but things seem to be looking up..

  14. Sam says:

    Great trade. thomas robinson looks so bad on sacramento because they have no player but tyreke. Getting robinson will be huge. he is so strong. great move. morris was just getting his threes going but after he is excited he will take a stupid shot. Great trade. nothing else i can say. now mchale will stay another year and daryl mroey wont get fired

  15. March says:

    A win win trade for 3 teams, and a very good move i think for the Rockets, theyve put the team on a great position to pursue 2 stars this summer while keeping a great and young core of Asik, Harden, Lin and Parsons. Whether they acquire a big named or not, they will be heading up no matter what, a major piece especially a big that can compliment the play of harden and lin will surely fired them up and can be looking for at least a conference finals run.

  16. Ben says:

    Good move. Clearly the key pieces for Morey were Asik, Parsons, Harden, Lin – I felt a trade sending off Patterson & Douglas for something was inevitable, and while there are probably better outcomes than Thomas Robinson he is certainly an intriguing one, and has the potential to fit in well with the other four starters.

    I feel a little sorry for those Houston fans who were keen on keeping Patterson, but this move was well telgraphed; it’s been clear for a while that Morey wanted a guy at PF with a bigger ceiling, because looking at this team he will believe that in 2-3 years they can be competing for titles.

    • Ben says:

      Also, the Morris trade baffles me a little.

    • uwa says:

      what is good for kings in this trade? did they think if they have a 3pt shooter in pf sloth they can use cousins more? or did they just think robinson is never going to reach patterson s level?

      • JPB says:

        Nothing is in this for the Kings, only their lame duck owners the Magoofs. It is almost criminal that the NBA would allow this trade as it puts $4,000,000 bucks in the Magoofs pocket as they are walking out the door without any interest or regard for the future of the franchise. Stern needs to rescind this trade to protect the best interest of the NBA.

  17. LoveThisGame says:

    I thought they’ve finally found some chemistry with the original roster and might try to do something in the playoffs…Now with that kind of personnel changes, I am really worrying about their next season coz I think they’ve given up their two very good players, morris and patterson.

    • tommy says:

      Don’t worry, the Rockets are looking to upgrade big at PF spot anyway. Patterson and Morris reached their ceilings, now at least they can develop the young talent they have in DMo, Jones, White, Robinson and acquire a big name in free agency.

  18. jpdforlife says:

    Awesome move for the rebuilding effort. Another good thing about this move is that it reminds us that the Rockets are willing to make moves that shake the foundation as well as shaping the future for years to come. Small forward is a position that this league has a bunch of great players at and I can’t wait to see what they do at that position and what direction they take with the bench.
    Houston we have launch…

    • BH says:

      With Parsons and delfino there I don’t see them making some big moves there. With all that cap-space they will pursue some big name free agent this next summer. I don’t think there’s a SF in that category.

  19. Number1HoustonRocketsFan says:

    Why would the Rockets do this? Patterson was on the verge of becoming an excellent offensive player, and Morris had no playing time last year, but has proven himself that he can play. I can guarantee that Garcia and Honeycutt are not going to get any minutes, if they’re lucky there going to get at most 5 minutes. They should have did this trade: Patterson, Asik, Aldrich, a second round pick for Josh Smith, and Pachulia.

    • Robert says:

      Robinson has a higher ceiling. Plus, the only players with guaranteed money for next year were Robinson, Patterson, and Morris. Less guaranteed money for the Rockets means more cash to throw at big name free agents. Kings shed salary and get Cousins his Kentucky friend. Suns get to pair the twins up for the cost of a 2nd rounder when they were selected back to back in the first round. Rockets increase cap room for the summer. Everyone wins here.

      • Breeezy says:

        Concise, succinct and took the words right out off my finger tips. Well written. Nice to say that about a comment for once. Robinson definitely has the higher ceiling. I suspect he will prosper more in Houston, perhaps a better environment for a player such as himself.

    • CHINA MAN says:

      Agree they should get smith instead of this newbie

      • Alfred says:

        Houston could still get Smith in free agency and Robinson would still be a good back-up behind Smith. As it is, Robinson is good enough right now and is a cheap get; thus providing the cap space required to land a major superstar such as a Smith during the summer free agency period. Robinson may even turn out to be good enough to not need to chase Josh Smith and may be able to land another player.