The Houston Rockets have emerged as a possible third team in a trade for Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Phoenix Suns forward Trevor Ariza, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
According to Charania, the Rockets are looking at “multi-team trade scenarios” that would land Caldwell-Pope on their roster:
In desperate search for an upgrade at the wing, the Rockets are targeting Caldwell-Pope, league sources said. The Lakers have pursued Suns forward Trevor Ariza, along with several other contenders, according to league sources.
As the trade market hashes itself out early this season, Caldwell-Pope has several interested suitors across the league, a telling sign for the 2019 free agent.
Also according to Charania, a deal involving these three teams — which can’t be completed until Dec. 15 — isn’t imminent.
After making it all the way to the Western Conference Finals last season, the Rockets have started the season off 12-14, which is the second-worst record in the Western Conference. However, the race for a playoff spot in the West has been so close this season that the Rockets are only 2.5 games back of the No. 8 seed.
Trading for a two-way wing like Caldwell-Pope would fill a glaring hole on Mike D’Antoni’s roster, and Rockets GM Daryl Morey isn’t afraid to make splashy trades. But what could the Rockets offer in the rumored multi-team deal with the Lakers and Suns?
The Suns are looking for a proven point guard and the Rockets have very few of them, unless you count Michael Carter-Williams as “proven” (Editor’s Note: You shouldn’t).
Brandon Knight makes sense for Phoenix from both a salary and basketball standpoint, but the Suns traded Knight to Houston this summer and therefore can’t reacquire him until after June 29.
The only other name Houston could dangle in a trade for KCP would be Eric Gordon, but Gordon has been a valuable role player for the Rockets over the past few years. Unless the Rockets are looking to dump salary, trading Gordon for an arguably worse player in KCP wouldn’t make much sense.
It’s possible the Rockets end up being the third team in this rumored deal, but it’s more likely they’d be a fourth team in an even bigger deal. But regardless of which team it is, it’s looking like Caldwell-Pope won’t be in a Lakers uniform for much longer.
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