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Houston Rockets Eyeing Big Moves at NBA Trade Deadline for Playoff Push

In a departure from recent years, the Houston Rockets, currently holding the 11th spot in the Western Conference with a record of 20-23, are gearing up for a more aggressive stance at the upcoming NBA trade deadline. General Manager Rafael Stone, along with Coach Ime Udoka and owner Tilman Fertitta, has expressed the desire to enter the next phase of the team’s rebuild during the 2023-24 season.

In contrast to previous seasons where the Rockets focused on accumulating draft capital and clearing cap space, this year signals a shift towards adding talent to boost the team’s performance. Stone’s wishlist includes the need for another center and additional wing shooting.

Top Targets on the Market

One notable veteran on Houston’s radar is Clint Capela from the Atlanta Hawks. Capela, a former staple alongside James Harden, could potentially reunite with the Rockets. Houston could leverage the salaries of Victor Oladipo and Jock Landale, along with draft picks, in a trade with the Hawks. While Capela may not be the force he once was, he continues to provide a double-double average and remains an agile pick-and-roll asset.

Another option considered is Nick Richards from the Charlotte Hornets, offering a more affordable choice for the Rockets. Richards, having a career-best season, could contribute positively to Houston’s play-in push. With a reasonable salary of $5 million for the next three seasons, Richards presents an attractive and cost-effective option.

Washington Wizards’ Daniel Gafford also enters the discussion as a valuable commodity on the market, with a reasonable contract for the next two seasons. Gafford, a talented offensive center, leads the NBA in true-shooting percentage this season.

The Detroit Pistons’ Isaiah Stewart, known for his toughness, playmaking skills, and three-point shooting, is another potential addition. While Stewart comes at a higher cost than Richards, his skill set aligns well with Coach Udoka’s preferences.

Lastly, Andre Drummond of the Chicago Bulls remains an intriguing option for the Rockets. Despite being 30 years old, Drummond’s rebounding prowess and defensive impact could provide a valuable change-of-pace for Houston with the right coaching strategy.

As the trade deadline approaches, the Rockets are actively exploring options to strengthen their roster and make a playoff push in the competitive Western Conference.