In the recent offseason, the Houston Rockets lost two players, Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute, who played a major role in their success in the 2017-18 NBA season. Ariza joined the Phoenix Suns as an unrestricted free agent while Mbah Moute returned to the Los Angeles Clippers. As of now, the Rockets remain active on the trade market, searching for a defensive-minded player who can fill the huge hole in their wing.
Kelly Iko of the Athletic recently named some of the potential trade targets of the Rockets. These include J.R. Smith of the Cleveland Cavaliers, 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. Of all those wingmen, T.A. Mock of Fansided’s House of Houston believes Shumpert is the “most intriguing option” for the Rockets.
“This may be the most intriguing option for the Houston Rockets at the present. Iman Shumpert has been widely regarded as one of the wiliest defenders in the league despite his smaller size. He stands at 6’5″ but consistently draws tough assignments on defense, regardless of the opponent’s size. This has made Shumpert an asset to teams and a player to covet. In today’s NBA, teams can never have too many ace defenders on the court. The Rockets are no exception to this and they probably actually need another defender to deploy on the wing.”
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) December 4, 2018
Iman Shumpert is undeniably one of the players who could serve as the perfect replacement for Trevor Ariza in Houston. Aside from being an incredible defender, Shumpert will also give the Rockets a reliable option from beyond the arc. In the 19 games he played with the Kings this season, the 28-year-old small forward is averaging 9.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.2 steals on 43.8 percent shooting from the field and 40.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Shumpert is currently happy with the Kings, but if he can make his own decision, he definitely wants to play again on a team where he can contend for the NBA championship title. Though he is receiving a decent playing time in Sacramento, the Kings already made it clear that their main focus right now is the development of their young players.
Instead of losing him in the summer of 2019 without getting anything in return, the Kings may consider trading Shumpert for assets that could help them speed up the rebuilding process. A trade package including Brandon Knight or Marquese Chriss, together with a future second-round pick, could be enough to convince the Kings to send Shumpert to Houston.