Philadelphia 76ers center Al Horford is one of the players expected to be traded in 2020 NBA offseason. Given his disappointing performance in the 2019-20 season, most people expect the Sixers to try to find ways to dump his massive contract this fall. One of the potential trade partners for Philadelphia in a deal involving Horford is the Houston Rockets.
According to Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, the Sixers and the Rockets could explore a deal that would send Horford to Houston and Eric Gordon to Philadelphia. For the deal to work under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, the Rockets would need to add more players to match the Sixers’ outgoing salary. However, if the trade becomes a reality, Buckley believes that it would help both teams fill certain needs in their roster.
“A more likely scenario, though, involves moving Horford for a contract someone else doesn’t want. Sending him to Houston for Eric Gordon and filler has win-win potential. Philly’s frontcourt gets less crowded without Horford, and if Gordon gets right, he can elevate the offense without bringing down the defense. Houston could get bigger with Horford but not lose the spacing its super-small-ball strategy created. He’s a good enough shooter to keep the attack lanes clear for James Harden and Russell Westbrook, and Horford could keep the Rockets from getting clobbered on the glass (29th in rebounding percentage since the deadline).”
The proposed trade scenario would enable the Sixers to hit two birds with one stone. Aside from successfully getting rid of Horford’s lucrative contract without giving him a young prospect or a future first-round pick, the Sixers would also be acquiring a quality veteran that would complement their core of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson, and Tobias Harris. Gordon may not be an All-Star, but he could help them improve their perimeter shooting.
Having an elite three-point shooter like Gordon would give Embiid and Simmons more space to execute their offense, which would make it easier for them to penetrate the basket or kick the ball out when they are trapped by the opposing team’s defense. With his experience playing for a legitimate playoff contender like the Rockets, Gordon’s presence would undoubtedly help the Sixers make a stronger playoff run in the 2020-21 NBA season.
Meanwhile, in exchange for their injury-riddled sharpshooter, the Rockets would be receiving an established veteran who could effectively match up against dominant big men in the league. Horford may be a huge disappointment in Philadelphia, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the same thing would happen when he starts playing in Houston. Horford would not only solve the team’s major problem at the center position, but he would also give the Rockets a big man who is capable of knocking down shots from beyond the arc.