HomeViralAdams Blasts Off to Memphis: A Jaw-Dropping Trade Grade for the Rockets!

Adams Blasts Off to Memphis: A Jaw-Dropping Trade Grade for the Rockets!

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Steven Adams could help the Rockets both on and off the floor.

Ahead of the February 8th trade deadline, the Houston Rockets have made a bit of noise. The Rockets on Thursday sent Victor Oladipo and three second-round picks to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Steven Adams, according to reports.

Houston is finally offloading Oladipo’s $9.4 million contract as well as extra draft capital to the Grizzlies, who have written off this season as a loss due to myriad injuries suffered by the likes of Ja Morant, Desmond Bane and Marcus Smart, among others—including Brandon Clarke and Adams.

The veteran big man suffered a major knee injury around the midpoint of 2022-23, one of the main reasons why the Grizzlies fell short in last year’s playoffs. He was ruled out for the season’s duration shortly before it tipped off in late October, a surprise considering Adams appeared in a pair of exhibition games.

Shedding Adams’ salary and adding more second-round picks gives Memphis more flexibility for a pivotal offseason, but the team is now without a quality center on the roster. Originally, Jaren Jackson Jr. was the team’s power forward. Now he is playing center because Xavier Tillman is better suited in a reserve role and Clarke, also best utilized as a reserve spark plug, hasn’t played all season.

As the dust settles on their first move at the trade deadline, let’s grade the Rockets’ Steven Adams trade.

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Grading Rockets’ Steven Adams trade

Houston Rockets, Steven Adams, NBA Offseason

Acquiring Adams suggests the Rockets are not pursuing Robert Williams III. They now have their injured big man in Adams, who is patiently waiting to play for the 2024-2025 season. This move indicates Houston is in no rush to jump into playoff contention. The season as a whole has been already a success. Tying last year’s win total of 22 games with 35 left to go is an extreme accomplishment.

As much as Rockets fans want their team to reach the playoffs this year, Rafael Stone and Ime Udoka are extremely confident in a young core that provides a winning window wide as a barn door. Many options for Houston are on the table. By acquiring Adams, the Rockets sacrificed some cap flexibility this summer to add a big who could make an impact on and off the floor next season or be traded again down the line as matching salary.

One great thing about this trade for Houston is the cheaper price tag. Even though Adams is out this year due to knee surgery, he is expected to return fully healthy next season. Based on this decision, the Rockets’ front office believes him to be the quality backup big they’ve been searching for to play behind Alperen Sengun. When healthy, Adams is the prototype interior enforcer who can defend the rim, grab rebounds and be an effective partner in the pick-and-roll.

The 30-year-old veteran has averaged 9.2 points and 8.2 rebounds across his career, shooting 58.7% from the field. In his last two playable seasons, Adams averaged double-digit rebounds. This makes the Jock Landale signing age like fine wine, given his non-guaranteed contract conditions going forward.

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Adams’ presence in the second unit will significantly enhance the Rockets’ defense. Imagine Adams, Tari Eason and Jabari Smith Jr. on the floor. Houston could dominate on the glass with all that size and physicality.

It’s hard to predict if Houston is finished making moves. Meanwhile, Ime Udoka recently confirmed what his team is looking for in trade targets.

“I think you look to improve in all those areas where you’re lacking,” he said. “Three-point shooting is one, versatility at the big spots is one. But, we mainly want to rely on what we have and get healthy, first, and see what this whole group looks like.”

If this rings true, then the Rockets could be just getting started. Acquiring a three-point shooter is the next step to b0lster Houston’s poor shooting performances beyond the arc. Expect Stone to make more noise with a week left before February 8th.

Grade: B+

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