The NBA trade deadline is only two weeks away and some incredible trade scenarios have begun popping out of the blue. One of the most recent trade proposals that emerged is a potential move by Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George to the Houston Rockets to form a new big three with James Harden and Chris Paul.
Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes suggested the scenario, which he included in his list of “Blockbuster Deals That Would Blow Up the NBA Trade Deadline.”
At the moment, the Rockets are considered the biggest threat to the defending champion Golden State Warriors. Earlier in the season, ESPN analyst and former NBA player Jalen Rose said that Houston poses the “only legitimate threat” to Golden State’s bid for a second-straight title.
The Rockets are second in the overall standings with a 34-12 record, only three games behind the league-leading Warriors. The team is currently on a four-game winning streak, which includes a 116-108 victory over Golden State at the Toyota Center last Saturday.
Houston is also second to Golden State in terms of points per game with 114.1, as compared to the latter’s 115.9. Harden currently leads the league in scoring with a 31.2 points per game clip and is also third overall in assists with a 9.0 assists per game average.
Meanwhile, Paul is fourth in the league in assists (8.8) per game, which meant that the ball movement in Houston has been free-flowing when the two are on the court together.
Another staggering stat about the Rockets is they had been undefeated, 17-0, when Harden, Paul, and starting center Clint Capela are “all healthy and in the lineup,” as per SB Nation. Houston had beaten the Warriors twice in three games this season to win their regular season series and set up a significant psychological advantage over the defending champs in the playoffs.
And now, rumors are out that the Rockets may have a chance to add Paul George before the trade deadline.
Hughes proposed a trade that would send George to Houston in exchange for Eric Gordon, Tarik Black, and two future first-round draft selections (2020 and 2022).
George is averaging 20.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and a league-leading 2.1 steals in 36.4 minutes per game this season for the Thunder. With those kinds of numbers playing alongside ball-dominant players like Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony, the Palmdale, California, native is expected to blend even better with Harden and Paul.
Not only would George give the Rockets another reliable scoring option, he could also help the team improve their defense. Houston is 10th in the NBA right now when it comes to defensive efficiency, while the Warriors are sixth.
The Rockets would have to give up Gordon in order for the suggested trade to push through. Gordon has been the team’s offensive catalyst off the bench, who is helping steady the ship while either Harden or Paul is resting.
While Hughes described this kind of a deal as “the faintest glimmer of plausibility,” there were really whispers of its possibility coming from some of the most credible NBA analysts, including Zach Lowe of ESPN, and Michael Lee of Yahoo! Sports, he noted.