Writing today about a 3 team trade that you won't have seen before that see's Houston try to balance their back court, Toronto let go of a fan favourite and the Pacers try to solidify their playoff push, buying at the deadline. Here's why each team makes this trade.
Rockets: Judging the Rockets situation in the league right now is a difficult task. If you're wearing rose tinted glasses they're a young team racking up considerable playing time together with a chance at landing another generational talent in next years draft as well as considerable cap space moving into FA next summer. If you take those glasses off what you see is the worst coached team in the league developing bad habits with a "star" in Jalen Green who's top end talent is starting to be questioned. They have good odds but that's no guarantee at a top 2 draft pick and after this cycle they have to start winning, owing their 2024 pick to OKC. So, I think it's worth addressing some on court issues and dressing room balance by bringing in veterans that they can resign with their cap space in the coming years. In this trade they let go off KPJ to bring in Fred VanVleet. I love Porter jr. as a player but there aren't enough touches to go around in Houston at the moment. It's my turn your turn with him and Green on the perimeter, Jabari Smith needs on ball reps to continue development. I think Porter is the odd man out, they need a veteran PG who can efficiently share the ball around, take up a bit less usage and add value off ball. Fred would instantly become a leader in the dressing room. His undrafted to all-star story should humble a few young prospects at the Toyota Arena and on the court their play would improve. Even on a down year FVV is putting up 6.3 assists against 1.7 TOV's per game this year. He'd be a great PNR partner for Jabari and Sengun would have a reliable shooter to kick out to on the perimeter. With the assurance of a long term contract from the Rockets front office VanVleet would enter a new stage of his career, bringing through the young talent and hoping to compete in 2-3 years once they mature. The Rockets bring in a connective piece in Terry Taylor and an expiring back up big in Goga moving off of Eric Gordon who's non guaranteed next year anyway and moving Kenyon Martin jr to the Pacers for future draft capital. I again like Martin but he isn't the right fit on this roster. Long term they have to choose between him and Tari Eason and I see them sticking with Tari. The Rockets get better with this trade and set themsleves up for a more stable season in 23/24 while not dampening what should be a bright future.
Raptors: I love this for Toronto. It's a gamble, it's moving a proven PG for an enigmatic young guard but I think there's enough reward for the risk. Ironically KPJ profiles as a great catch and shoot player, in an ideal situation I think he's a PG that seeds a lot of creation duties to a primary wing or forward, attacking closeouts and running PNR when he's got favourable match ups. This is where the Toronto fit comes in. Everyone knows that Toronto need more shooting and while FVV provides that at the moment I think ideally that player would also have the athleticism to get to the rim. So they sell FVV, avoiding the pricey extension bringing in Porter who can hopefully fulfill the same role while also offering the creation to run 2nd units when primaries like Barnes and Siakam sit. In a more strctured environment the best case scenario is that Nurse gets Porter to lock in on defence, and he provides that spacing and on ball creation at a cheaper price than Fred for the next few years. Of course if that doesn't work out then Toronto can cut Porter due to the nature of his extension. It's actually a really valuable contract in the NBA. Aside from Porter the Raptors bring in Duarte who's fallen out of favour in Indianna. Duarte again profiles differently to their standard acquistion but I think he balances the roster. Offering solid 3 point shooting when playing with starters and decent 2nd unit offence. He again comes in on the cheap which free's Toronto to extend some of their old heads and his shooting should space the floor for the likes of Barnes and Siakam to operate and in Scottie's case develop. Further to the young players they bring in a late 1st giving them two picks in the upcoming draft. This trade represents a short term step back but a lot more flexibility and a more balanced roster for the future. I'd actually want to see the Raps trade Siakam for another premier guard player of a proper center if possible. Acquiring KAT would space the floor for Scottie to have the ball in his hands or moving for a player like Jaylen Brown would balance their inside and perimter creation. I don't see Pascal and Scottie maximising eachothers skill sets so best to move Pascal for a better complimentary player due to the contract situation.
Pacers: Exciting times for the Pacers! If Haliburton can come back from injury soon enough then the play-in and perhaps the playoffs are in sight. These moves see them acquire some win now talent and bolster their forward spots to make them a frisky post season team. They acquire an upgrade to Duarte in Eric Gordon, I see him coming in and running some offence, playing as an undersized 3, sharing minutes with the likes of Hield, Mathurin, Neesmith and Nembhard. He's a great vet presence to add to the dressing room and we can assume that he can still shoot and defend at a playoff level. Their other acquisiton here is Kenyon Martin jr. KMart has been great this year, providing efficient offense and making his own shot better than previous. This would help to cover at the 4, giving Indianna a lob threat to go with Myles Turner's more pick and pop style in the front court. Martin fights for a starting place here and can be extended using the Pacers cap space at the end of next season. Lastly they bring in Juancho and acquire a profile of player they don't have on the roster at the moment. The 6ft 9 Spaniard would really benefit from the looks Haliburton can create, I like his size and prefer him in spot minutes at the 3/4 to some of their other options.
Let me know your thoughts on this trade. Do you like KPJ to the Raptors and are the values fair?