Today is the day, the day when NBA contenders will take one last shot at reshaping or retooling their rosters for a stretch run, and the day when NBA afterthoughts stockpile a few more first- and second-round draft picks that they will inevitably screw up come June of whatever year those picks are in.
It's NBA trade deadline day, and since Daryl Morey arrived in Houston as the general manager prior to the 2007-2008 season, we in the media could always count on this being a day with something to talk about. Morey has always made deals on or near the NBA's trade deadline, and we love him for that!
This, however, might be the most crucial deadline during his tenure as GM, given the rickety health of Dwight Howard's knee and the need for another offensive creator alongside James Harden, not to mention the fact that their decision not to bring back Chandler Parsons was done in order to maintain flexibility to make some sort of deal, granted with no guarantees that deal would be this season.
If you're looking for an "impact gauge" on previous deadline deals executed by Morey, let's take a look back and relive the magic! (My comments after each year's deadline are preceded by "SP".)
February 21 2008 Traded guards Mike James and Bonzi Wells and cash to the New Orleans Hornets for guards Adam Haluska and Bobby Jackson, forward Marcus Vinicius and a second-round pick; traded forward Marcus Vinicius and the draft rights to Malick Badiane to the Memphis Grizzlies for the draft rights to forward Sergei Lishouk; traded guard Kirk Snyder to the Minnesota Timberwolves for guard Gerald Green.
SP: This is back when there was an assumption that Yao Ming's feet and Tracy McGrady's anatomy were still somewhat operational, so the deadline deals consisted of the shuffling of a bunch of veteran journeymen and Euros. All except one young player who hadn't really found himself yet -- indeed, we all forget that Gerald Green, now a functional bench player in Phoenix, was once a Rockets throw-in.
February 19 2009 Traded a first-round draft pick to the Memphis Grizzlies for guard Kyle Lowry; traded guard Rafer Alston to the Orlando Magic for forward Brian Cook.
SP: The Kyle Lowry deal! We had no idea what kind of highway robbery this was until a couple of years later when Lowry finally took the starting job from Aaron Brooks. Now he's starting in All-Star Games.
February 18 2010 Traded guard Tracy McGrady to the New York Knicks for forwards Jared Jeffries and Jordan Hill, a protected 2012 first-round pick and the right to exchange first-round picks in 2011; traded forwards Carl Landry and Joey Dorsey to the Sacramento Kings for guard Kevin Martin and center Hilton Armstrong.
SP: This was the beginning of two overriding themes with the Rockets for the next couple of years -- 1. Jordan Hill was the first of several 2009 lottery picks that the team would wind up stockpiling like penny stocks hoping one would hit (Thabeet, Flynn, Williams -- eventually the 2009 lottery pick that worked out for them was this dude named "Harden") and 2. the beginning of the ill-fated, utterly boring Kevin Martin Era, two seasons of .500 basketball, like the equivalent of the seasons of The Office where Michael Scott had left and the funniest character was Kevin for about 40 seconds each episode.
February 24 2011 Traded guard Ishmael Smith and forward Shane Battier to the Memphis Grizzlies for center Hasheem Thabeet, forward DeMarre Carroll and a future first-round pick. Traded guard Aaron Brooks to the Phoenix Suns for guard Goran Dragic and a future first-round pick.
SP: Thabeet! Carroll! MORE 2009 DRAFTEES!! Oh, also, they picked up the very guy they're trying to trade for again, Goran Dragic. So not only are Daryl Morey deals a deadline tradition, but trading for Dragic himself is a quasi-tradition!! Make it happen, D!!
March 15 2012 Traded guard Jonny Flynn, center Hasheem Thabeet and a second-round pick to the Portland Trail Blazers for center Marcus Camby. Traded forward Jordan Hill to the Los Angeles Lakers for guard Derek Fisher and a conditional first-round pick.
(NOTE: The 2012 trade deadline was moved back to March as a result of the NBA lockout causing a delay in the start of the season.)
SP: The end of the Great 2009 Stockpile Experiment. Bye-bye Flynn...bye-bye Thabeet....bye-bye Jordan Hill....we still miss the way all of you looked in your warm-up suits (which were never removed from your bodies because you were all terrible here). Sadly, the Rockets could actually use Hill right about now.
February 20 2013 Traded guard Toney Douglas, forward Patrick Patterson, center Cole Aldrich and cash to the Sacramento Kings for guard Francisco Garcia and forwards Thomas Robinson and Tyler Honeycutt. February 21 2013 Traded forward Marcus Morris to the Phoenix Suns for a second-round pick.
SP: This was the deadline where everybody thought Morey had completely mind sexed the Sacramento Kings by "thieving" Thomas Robinson, who was a top five pick just months earlier. As it turned out, it was really more of a soft market for power forwards with no noticeable NBA offensive skills than it was an actual heist per se.
February 20 2014 Traded guard Aaron Brooks to the Denver Nuggets for forward Jordan Hamilton.
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So the Dragic Watch is still on. The Suns point guard has made it clear that he doesn't intend to re-sign in Houston if he is traded here. (And by "made it clear" I mean "Who the hell knows if he's just posturing to lay the groundwork for a max deal?") He's also made it clear that he doesn't trust Phoenix's management (which I guess is good news for the Rockets? Who the hell knows.)
My biggest takeaway from all the rumors and the quotes and the conjecture this week is that Goran Dragic is a little "high maintenance."