Thought I would share this since Insider is a sub. We got a C, Rox got an A- and the Kings got a B+. Just one time would I like to see the media saying we got the best in a deal.
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Rockets: I see this as two trades, both of which benefit Houston. First, the Rockets basically extracted two first-rounders (Hill and the 2012 pick) from New York for taking on Jeffries, plus a potential lottery ticket in 2011.
The trade costs Houston its salary cap space this summer, which now will be spent paying Jeffries to sit at the end of the bench. But since the Rockets didn't have enough room for a max deal and every other team will be flush with cash, I don't think this costs them much. Additionally, Houston should still be able to re-sign Kyle Lowry and Luis Scola without going over the luxury tax.
The deal comes with the bonus of getting the Rockets under the luxury tax for the current season. Unlike every other team scrambling to get under the tax line, Houston managed to do it while adding assets instead of subtracting them. Well played.
With Sacramento, Houston swapped two of the league's most underrated players. Landry is about as good as Martin, but the deal makes so much sense for the Rockets because it gives them a more productive roster. Houston was desperate for a wing who could get his own shot and space the floor. Martin answers both challenges.
The stat-savvy Rockets undoubtedly have noticed Martin's astronomic true shooting percentages (better than 60 in four of the past five seasons). He gets his points without dominating the ball and should thrive from open looks when Yao Ming returns to health next season. He's also familiar with Rick Adelman's system, having played for him in Sacramento.
Losing Landry hurts, but the Rockets managed to rebuild their front line in one shot by acquiring Hill to back up Scola at power forward. The Rockets also can play small with Shane Battier at the 4 and Martin and Trevor Ariza at the wings, something they've rarely done this season because of a shortage of wing talent.
All told, it reshapes their roster to be far more potent next season when Yao returns. In the meantime, the Rockets haven't hurt themselves at all for this season. They got under the luxury tax and grabbed a couple of assets from New York on the exchange. Martin has been injury-prone, and his contract (three years for $36 million after this season) is potentially toxic if he underperforms. But this is about as good a trade as a team can make now that Isiah Thomas and Kevin McHale are out of the league. Grade: A-
Kings: We had been hearing for a while that the Kings weren't looking to trade Martin, but that belied the on-court reality that he and Tyreke Evans go together like peanut butter and onions. And once they pulled the trigger, the Kings got exactly what they were looking for: cap relief and a young, productive, inexpensive power forward in Landry.
Landry makes only $3 million next year, but his low-post scoring ability should provide a nice staple for Sacramento, especially since the Kings' other young bigs, Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes, have trouble scoring on the block.
The Kings actually took on some salary in this deal ($3.6 million) but might be able to get some savings by buying out Hughes, who likely has no interest in playing eight minutes a game for a lottery team.
More importantly, the deal positions Sacramento (stop me if you've heard this before) to be a major player in the free-agent market. As a result of deals in the past 48 hours, the Kings, Clippers, Wizards and Bulls all have positioned themselves to offer a maximum free-agent contract, while the Knicks now can offer two maximum deals. In the Kings' case, they probably will take a more piecemeal approach -- LeBron ain't coming to Sacto, folks. But if they can add a young point guard to build around with Evans, Omri Casspi, Landry, Thompson and Hawes, they should be in good position to turn things around. Grade: B+
Knicks: It's all or nothing this summer for the Knicks, who set themselves up for their dream scenario -- being able to offer two maximum free-agent contracts -- but did so at considerable cost. By finally ridding themselves of their obligation to Jeffries next year, New York now projects to have about $32 million in cap space, which theoretically positions them to sign Dwyane Wade and LeBron, or one of those two and Chris Bosh.
However, New York gave up a lot of assets in order to make this deal work. The Knicks sent out two young pieces: their 2012 first-round pick (top-5 protected) and young forward Jordan Hill. With no 2010 first-rounder, whomever they entice to take their money will be playing with Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Toney Douglas, Eddy Curry, Bill Walker and six guys making the minimum. (No, not David Lee -- he's an unrestricted free agent).
Rodriguez also could stay in the mix if the cap number comes in higher than anticipated or if New York can trade Douglas on draft day. This is a great situation for Rodriguez to thrive in since coach Mike D'Antoni's system is so dependent on creative point guards, so we'll see whether he makes good on his promise as a drive-and-kick guy.
New York should be able to trade Curry for another fat contract (no pun intended) next year, but it remains to be seen whether the lure of the Big Apple is enough to overcome what looks to be a limited supporting cast.
Meanwhile, consider the other scenario. If those A-list free agents stay with their original teams, the Knicks are pretty much hosed -- they'd be left to re-sign Lee, overpay some other second-tier free agent and go 32-50 for the next half-decade. This is a high-risk strategy forced upon them by the misery of the Isiah Thomas era, and it remains unclear how well it will pan out.
Finally, a lot of Knicks fans are asking me about McGrady. Basketball-wise, he's totally irrelevant to this deal -- New York can't make the playoffs no matter what McGrady does, and the Knicks won't be in a position to keep T-Mac if he plays well. Grade: C