Since the 2018 NBA offseason, the Houston Rockets have been aggressive on the trade market, searching for a defensive-minded player who could fill the hole left by Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute in the wing. The Rockets may have acquired Carmelo Anthony from the buyout market, but the 10-time NBA All-Star doesn’t provide much impact on the defensive end of the floor.
According to Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report, one of the NBA players that the Rockets could target is J.R. Smith of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Smith has been in and out of the Cavaliers’ rotation this season, and after the team fired Tyronn Lue as head coach, there are speculations that Cleveland plans to move some of their veterans next. Smith is aware of his uncertain future with the Cavaliers and has recently expressed his desire to be traded on a team where he can remain competitive.
The potential acquisition of J.R. Smith will not only give the Rockets a defensive reinforcement but he could also boost their scoring off the bench. In his 13 years in the NBA, the 33-year-old shooting guard averaged 12.5 points on 41.9 percent shooting from the field and 37.3 percent from beyond the arc.
“The Rockets have stumbled to a 1-5 start and should be looking for some scoring punch off the bench. Houston ranks 29th in reserve scoring at just 31.7 points per game. And Smith’s microwave scoring ability would help when James Harden or Chris Paul need a breather, as he can function both on and off the ball. His outside shooting would blend perfectly with what the Rockets want to do, given they lead the league with a whopping 41.5 three-point attempts per game. Cleveland is putting up slightly more than half that amount (22.4), down to 28th.”
In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Rockets will be trading Brandon Knight to the Cavaliers for J.R. Smith. The deal works on ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine. The suggested trade will not only be beneficial for the Rockets but also for the Cavaliers.
Though they already have George Hill, Collin Sexton, and Jordan Clarkson to run the point, Brandon Knight will give them another reliable contributor on the offensive end of the floor. In his six years in the NBA, Knight averaged 15.2 points and 4.3 assists on 41.5 percent shooting from the field and 35.7 percent from beyond the arc. Unfortunately, until now, Knight is yet to play a single game in the 2018-19 NBA season since he’s still recovering from an ACL tear he suffered in July 2017.