The Houston Rockets headed into the 2019-20 NBA season with the belief that the explosive backcourt duo of James Harden and Russell Westbrook would be enough to help them accomplish their main goal. However, though Harden and Westbrook are showing great chemistry on the floor, the Rockets still obviously need to make massive upgrades on their roster in order to have a legitimate chance of dominating the deep Western Conference and contending for the NBA championship.
As of now, one of the areas that the Rockets need to improve is their wing, where they could target Jae Crowder of the Memphis Grizzlies.
In his recent article, Preston Ellis of Bleacher Report created a list of trade deadline targets for every contender with needs. For the Rockets, Ellis believes that they could immediately address the major issue on their roster by acquiring Crowder from the Grizzlies before the NBA trade deadline.
“There are enough assets to make a swing. The Rockets still have control of their 2020 and 2022 firsts. The salary filler is what makes a move difficult. Nene’s incentive-laden $10 million deal was ruled only to be trade-eligible at $2.6 million (guaranteed portion). The Rockets can send out that with Danuel House’s $3.5 million and one of Thabo Sefolosha or Tyson Chandler to bring back Jae Crowder. The Memphis Grizzlies might be reluctant to part with him due to their unexpected playoff chase, but bringing back multiple firsts should be too enticing to pass up.”
Crowder would undeniably be an incredible addition to the Rockets, giving them a three-and-D wingman that could complement Harden and Westbrook. Crowder could be tasked to guard the opposing team’s best players and wouldn’t mind doing the dirty job for the Rockets.
Aside from his reputation on the defensive end of the floor, Crowder is also an incredible rebounder, facilitator, and floor-spacer. This season, the 29-year-old small forward is averaging 10.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.1 steals, while shooting 36.8 percent from the field and 29.7 percent from beyond the arc.
Crowder is not showing any sign that he wants out of Memphis, but at this point in his career, he will be better off playing for a legitimate title contender than wasting his prime on a rebuilding team like the Grizzlies. Crowder might have turned himself into a fan-favorite in Memphis, but the Grizzlies shouldn’t think twice about trading him if they receive future draft selections in return.
As much as they want to return to the Western Conference Playoffs, the Grizzlies should also prioritize gathering assets that could help them speed up the rebuilding process.