Reuniting the Morris twins marked an unusual starting shot to the trade deadline and was immediately followed by a much bigger deal also involving the Rockets. Considering the fact that the trades were done concurrently (and likely will become a three-way when it hits the league office) I will evaluate it as such.
The Rockets' Perspective
I had been critical of Daryl Morey and the Rockets brass since the Draft because they had a stockpile of not that special power forward and not enough time to play them all. Well, that just got emphatically clarified. Losing Toney Douglas and Cole Aldrich makes them slightly shallower at those spots for this season, but means nearly nothing to the team moving forward. As such, it becomes a simpler trade for the future.
Effectively moving Patrick Patterson for Thomas Robinson (and some pieces) absolutely makes a ton of sense for a team that has had plenty of time to evaluate Patterson and his fit with what they have. Robinson has a ton of potential and possesses the additional benefit of two extra years of team control (Patterson hits restricted free agency in 2014 and Robinson in 2016). Losing Marcus Morris for a 2013 second round pick may make people balk but the net moves save the team about $1.5 million for next season, marking a necessary sacrifice for a team in the free agency sweepstakes this summer.
On top of that, I am intrigued to see what Houston does with Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt, who could absolutely contribute to a team set at the starting perimeter spots but lacking somewhat when it comes to swingman depth.
All in all, Houston made a smart trade of Patrick Patterson for Thomas Robinson while picking up some interesting assets and some valuable salary space for the 2013-14 season in the process. Well done.
Grade for Houston: A-
The Kings' Perspective
I like Patrick Patterson but worry that the difference in years under rookie deals could end up hurting Sacramento relatively soon. After all, having a player closer to his peak makes remarkably little sense for a team who should not be looking to win the rest of this season and likely cannot make much noise next year. He could help try [emphasis on try] to stabilize former Kentucky teammate DeMarcus Cousins, but that is not enough of a benefit to outweigh the other costs. Now is far too early to give up on Thomas Robinson, especially when doing so for a guy who helps them more at a less valuable time in the team’s progression.
The other issue I have with the deal is that Cole Aldrich will be an Unrestricted Free Agent this summer by virtue of his option year being declined, while Toney Douglas will be Restricted but is not that good and plays a position where the Kings actually do not need help from a rotation player. Trading a swingman like Garcia who can actually shoot could be a problem as well though it’s not too big a deal.
Grade for Sacramento: D+
The Suns' Perspective
Trading a solid second round pick for a talented enough guy like Marcus Morris is fine. I personally love early seconds (since they are so cheap), but Morris has enough time on his deal and fit with Phoenix to make it a reasonable choice.
Grade for Phoenix: B