- Late night four-team trade saw the Houston Rockets land Robert Covington
- Center Clint Capela departs Texas for Georgia, teaming up with Trae Young in Atlanta
- Rockets’ title odds are +1400 after trade
The Houston Rockets were at the center of the biggest NBA trade in almost two decades on Tuesday night. The four-team, 12-player deal, as reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, involved the Rockets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Denver Nuggets and Atlanta Hawks.
Robert Covington to Houston and Clint Capela to the Hawks were the biggest names in the deal. Evan Turner, Malik Beasley, Juan Hernangomez and Jarred Vanderbilt went to the T-Wolves, Shabazz Napier, Keita Bates-Diop, Gerald Green and Noah Vonleh all went to the Nuggets. Nene joins Capela on the Hawks and Jordan Bell heads to Houston as well.
Denver acquire Houston’s 2020 first-round selection, while Minnesota get Atlanta’s 2020 first-round selection, which could be used in a D’Angelo Russell trade.
The table below shows the latest NBA Championship odds following this monster deal.
2019-20 NBA Championship Odds
|Los Angeles Lakers||+200|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+375|
Odds taken Feb. 5th.
Houston Taking Big Risk
The Rockets have opened up cap space with this deal and put themselves comfortably below the luxury tax threshold. The coming hours will tell us how money-motivated this trade was for Houston, but they could be looking to add another player or two to complement the super-small ball lineups they are planning to play.
Their wins over Dallas and New Orleans saw them become the first team since 1963 to play entire NBA games without using a player over 6’6″.
Bell will get some minutes at the five, as will Tyson Chandler and Isaiah Hartenstein when required. Mike D’Antoni is predominantly playing small-ball, however, with P.J. Tucker taking the heavy minutes at center. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Rockets pick up a cheap rim-running center via trade or the buyout market, as they did with Kenneth Faried last season.
LAL: H. Grant, G. Foster, C. Person and E. Davis
NYK: G. Rice, L. Longley, T. Knight, V. Stepania and L. Borrell
PHX: C. Dudley
SEA: P. Ewing
Plus multiple picks going out https://t.co/WSPnM6g8RG
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) February 5, 2020
Covington adds another three-and-D wing, and fits alongside Russell Westbrook and James Harden as well as any player in the league. Injuries are a perennial concern with the former Sixer, however, and his defense hasn’t been quite at the same level over the last few months.
With open looks aplenty from Harden and Westbrook, Houston will hope Covington’s three-point percentage nudges up from the current 34.6% on the season.
Houston have been successful without Capela this year, but this move feels like a significant risk. Giving up such a size disadvantage when they could face the enormous Lakers, Nikola Jokic and Rudy Gobert in the playoffs will hurt them on the boards and creates some serious matchup questions.
To be clear, the Rockets aren't searching for a starting center. They're playing small-ball and rolling with PJ Tucker at the 5. But they need a big to throw at Nikola Jokic, Anthony Davis, etc. in the playoffs. https://t.co/y6d8l9HnWG
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) February 5, 2020
With Gary Harris reportedly on the trade market, the Denver Nuggets could be lining up for a big move. This trade gives them some bench pieces, but they may be looking to use Houston’s 2020 first in another deal after seeing wing Malik Beasley depart for Minnesota.
Denver are one of those teams on the cusp of legitimate contention, as their +1600 price suggests. They divide opinion. Having been linked with a Jrue Holiday trade, though, they are a team to watch in the lead up to the deadline. The Nuggets are stacked with talent, and a deal for a player like Holiday could move the needle for them significantly.
It’s been a strange year, with Nikola Jokic taking time to get going, but the Nuggets rank 10th in defense and offense. They are third in the Western Conference and could yet snatch the much-desired second seed.
Houston have no one capable of guarding Jokic in a playoff series as it stands. Denver might not boast a superstar backcourt, but a potential trade for Holiday begins to address that and gives them an elite defender to throw at Harden, Westbrook or Donovan Mitchell.
Beating either of the Los Angeles teams might be a step too far, but this four-team trade makes the Nuggets a team to consider at +1600.
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