Houston Rockets trade Trevor Ariza, first-round pick to the Detroit Pistons

By Vincent Frank
May 24, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) defends the shot of Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) during the first quarter in game five of the Western conference finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Trevor Ariza era in Houston lasted a couple days. With the 2020 NBA Draft slated to get going here in a couple hours, the Houston Rockets trade season has continued.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Houston has dealt Ariza and the 16th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft to the Detroit Pistons for a future first-round pick.

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Houston Rockets trade Trevor Ariza to the Detroit Pistons

The compensation is questionable here for Houston. It had acquired the 16th pick earlier in the week in the same deal that sent Robert Covington to the Portland Trail Blazers and brought Ariza back to Houston.

By moving the veteran forward, these Rockets save $12.8 million against the cap. As reported by Woj, it could help them use the mid-level exception in free agency.

Then again, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta is looking to cut their payroll. It’s led to friction between the newish owner and Houston’s stars, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Both apparently want out of dodge.

In yet another interesting move on Wednesday, Houston also decided to purchase the Pistons’ second-round pick in 2021 (from the Lakers) for $4.6 million. That runs contrary to the suggestion that Fertitta is being cheap.

There’s certainly a lot of moving parts for both the Rockets and Pistons.

Following Houston Rockets trade, will Pistons now move Blake Griffin?
Dec 26, 2019; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin (23) during the game against the Washington Wizards at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

New Detroit general manager Troy Weaver now has two first-round picks to work with (seventh and 16th overall). Will the team package those two selections to move further up in the lottery? There’s also suggestions that injury-plagued All-Star forward Blake Griffin could be on the trade block.

The Golden State Warriors are the one team that has been linked to him. They are selecting No. 2 overall Wednesday night and have had discussions with other teams about moving down. The seventh pick and 16th pick could be used along with Griffin to entice Golden State at two.

As for the Rockets, they now don’t have a pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. That makes some sense given just how up in the air things are right now for Houston.