Since losing Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute in the recent free agency, the Houston Rockets have been active on the trade market, searching for a defensive-minded player who could fill the hole in their wing. The Rockets may have acquired Carmelo Anthony, but the 10-time NBA All-Star has defensive issues and obviously an odd fit in Houston.
According to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, the Rockets could engage in a trade negotiation with the Cleveland Cavaliers involving veteran shooting guard J.R. Smith. After struggling earlier in the 2018-19 NBA season, the Cavaliers have made some of the veterans available on the trade market to focus on the development of their young players. Days after he expressed his frustration and desire to play somewhere else, the Cavaliers announced that they are parting ways with Smith.
“They have made it clear they are moving in a younger direction, recently parting ways with J.R. Smith as they seek a trade for him,” Iko wrote (via Sam Amico of Amico Hoops). “George Hill is another guard whose salary they would like to shed, but his $19 million price tag may make it difficult to find a taker.”
At 33, there is no doubt that J.R. Smith is already on the downside of his NBA career. In the past two seasons, Smith has started to show some signs of slowing down. However, he could still be a great addition to a team who is aiming to contend for the NBA championship title this season.
— Rockets Nation (@Rockets__Nation) November 28, 2018
J.R. Smith will not only give the Rockets a defensive reinforcement in their wing but also a huge threat from beyond the arc. His familiarity with the reigning NBA champions, Golden State Warriors, could greatly help the Rockets in fully dominating the deep Western Conference this season. As of now, it remains unknown what the Rockets are willing to give up to acquire Smith from the Cavaliers.
With his deteriorating performance, it is highly unlikely that the Cavaliers are expecting a good return for Smith. A trade package including a young player or a future second-round pick could be enough to convince the Cavaliers to send the veteran shooting guard to Houston.
Aside from Smith, the Rockets are also keeping an eye on other NBA players. These include Iman Shumpert of the Sacramento Kings, Joe Harris of the Brooklyn Nets, C.J. Miles of the Toronto Raptors, and Kelly Oubre Jr. and Markieff Morris of the Washington Wizards.