So Goran Dragic was mysteriously named as “a potential trade target” for the Houston Rockets yesterday.
ESPN continued their month-long tour of previewing trade outlooks for every NBA team in advance of the Trade Deadline (Feb. 18) — the Heat haven’t had the pleasure yet — and yesterday was Houston’s turn, with numbers guru Kevin Pelton mysteriously teeing up Dragic at the top of their “potential trade target” section.
A second playmaker to go with James Harden remains Houston GM Daryl Morey’s white whale. The Rockets hoped Ty Lawson would fill that role, but the offseason trade for Lawson has backfired because he has been ineffective both playing with Harden and as a lead ballhandler.
Though playing Dragic with Harden would create some of the same issues Dragic currently faces next to Dwyane Wade with the Miami Heat, his up-tempo style would be ideal for the team’s second unit.
This is almost as comical as when Chris Sheridan predicted Dwight Howard would be “wearing a Miami Heat uniform by the end of February.”
Before we entertain why the trade is completely implausible, let’s take a look at Pelton’s recent resume mentioning the Heat. First he was peddling Carmelo Anthony to Miami in a deal around Justise Winslow, which again may make sense for New York but certainly not for Miami. Next he ranked Chris Bosh 86th all-time, behind the likes of Dave DeBusschere.
While it may make perfect sense for the mediocre Rockets to desire another efficient playmaker on the perimeter like Dragic, there is no feasible scenario (outside of involving James Harden, which Houston would never do) on Miami’s end.
Could the Heat use a 3-and-D talent like Trevor Ariza? Sure, but not at the cost of giving up their best playmaker in his prime. My goodness. Dwyane Wade is 34 and on an expiring contract. The only way Pat Riley would even entertain giving up Dragic is in a blockbuster deal for a DeMarcus Cousins-type talent.
I’m beginning to question Pelton’s understanding of the game outside the numbers. Then again ESPN could just be squeezing its talent for trade-rumor content because obviously that’s a highly clickable subject.
Nevertheless, Dragic to Houston is beyond a reach.