NBA rumors: Houston Rockets GM hints more trades coming after James Harden blockbuster

By Vincent Frank

Most of the biggest NBA rumors leading up to last week’s blockbuster James Harden trade dealt with the Houston Rockets engaging in conversations with several teams regarding the three-time reigning scoring champion.

In the end, Houston dealt Harden to the Brooklyn Nets in a four-team trade that brought back four first-round picks and four potential pick swaps as well as All-Star guard Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum and Rodions Kurucs.

In talking about one of the biggest blockbuster trades in NBA history. new Rockets general manager Rafael Stone made some news of his own on Sunday.

Related: Winners/losers from James Harden trade

Houston Rockets GM hints that more trades could be on the horizon

NBA rumors: More Rockets trades after James Harden blockbuster?
Jan 16, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) reacts after being called for a foul in the third quarter against the Orlando Magic at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

“I don’t think it’s appropriate to talk about the other offers,” Stone said, via ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “I would say what’s super exciting about this deal is it gives us flexibility. In the NBA, picks, especially high picks, are the best currency. Everybody likes them. Everybody values them. That was great organizationally. It gave us flexibility to do different types of deals as they come up this year, next year or whatever.”

The first-round picks Houston received are as follows:

  • 2022: From Nets and Bucks
  • 2024: From Nets
  • 2026: From Nets

All of the picks are said to be unprotected. Houston also reserves the right to swap first-round picks with Brooklyn in 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027. That is a whole lot of draft capital.

Does this mean that the Rockets making more trades ahead of the March deadline? It sure looks like that’s a solid bet given Stone’s comments.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Rockets, check out #OneMission rumors, rankings, and news here.

NBA rumors suggest Rockets could trade Victor Oladipo

NBA rumors: Could Rockets trade Victor Oladipo?
Jan 11, 2021; Sacramento, California, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo (4) warms up before a game against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Already unhappy with the Indiana Pacers ahead of his trade to Houston last Wednesday, indications are that Oladipo does not want to play for the Rockets. The former All-Star had in the past shown interest in playing for the defending Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat. Those rumors have popped up once again.

More than seeing him as a future building block, the Rockets acquired Oladipo to be nothing more than an asset. He’s slated to become a free agent following this season. If Stone and Co. can flip the guard for more draft pick assets, it would make a ton of sense.

As for holdovers from the James Harden era, the likes of Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker could also find themselves dealt ahead of the NBA trade deadline in March. Despite his lofty contact and injury history, there’s also a chance that the Rockets move off John Wall.

One thing is abundantly clear right now. Based on the compensation they received from Brooklyn in the Harden trade, these Rockets are headed into a full-scale rebuild.

Outside of the Harden drama, this always seemed to be the best course of action in Houston given the team’s playoff struggles of the past several seasons.

We can fully expect NBA rumors to persist regarding a proverbial fire sale on the part of the Rockets over the next couple months. How that might look remains to be seen. However, Tucker, Gordon and Oladipo will be bandied about a whole heck of a lot.

Houston currently sits at 4-7, tied for the second-worst record in the Western Conference with the New Orleans Pelicans. That simple point could expedite trade talks here soon.