Trade grade: Rockets, two first-round picks for Rockets Trevor Ariza to send Robert Covington to the Blazers


The NBA trade season is officially upon us as teams waste no time in finalizing deals after the moratorium was lifted on Monday. The Houston Rockets got into the act, agreeing to send Robert Covington to the Portland Trail Blazers in lieu of Trevor Ariza, the No. 16 pick in Wednesday’s draft and the protected 2021 first-round draft pick, According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojrowski.

The trade will not be completed until after the draft due to a ban on first-round trading in the league in back-to-back years. Instead of trading the 2020 pick, the Blazers will select whichever Houston they want on Wednesday and then have that player’s draft rights included in the final deal.

Russell Westbrook and James Harden had already requested Houston to move on, coming from Minnesota in February, to deal with Covington – an integral part of the Rockets. A full blown reconstruction.

Let us know how both sides of this business move.

Portland Trail Blazers Received:

Houston Rockets receive:

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  • No. 16 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft
  • Preserved 2021 first-round draft pick

Portland Business Grade: A

Covington would be a welcome addition to the Blazers, who lacked all of the wing’s depth last season after the departure of Al-Farooq Aminu and Mo Harkless. The prototypic modern NBA 3-and-D wing, the 6-foot-7 Covington is a 36 percent career 3-point shooter who should be able to space the floor for a Portland forward for Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum who can efficiency. I came third. Last season he had 113.2 points per 100 possessions.

The defense, however, is where Covington makes his greatest impact, thanks to his ability to defend multiple positions and take deflections, steals and blocks with his long arms and active hands. The Blazers had the fourth-worst defense in the NBA last season with 114.3 points per 100 possessions after finishing 16th in 2018-19 and sixth in 2017-18.

Overall this is a step towards a win for the Blazers, who clearly feel that Covington can help them improve on their first round exit from the previous postsman. A major crown of Lillard, McCollum, Covington and Jusuf Nurkic could pose a serious threat in the Western Conference.

Houston Business Grade: B-minus

The Rockets recaptured Ariza, who had 12.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals while shooting 36 percent from the 3-point line in four seasons with Houston 2014-2018, his second stint with the team. He averaged career-high 14.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 2009-10. Ariza’s third term with Houston may not last long as it is truly committed to rebuilding as she is a strong candidate to be flipped to a contender with her championship experience.

Pickett’s why the Rockets made the deal, and they could get a solid future rotation piece with the 16th pick on Wednesday. While this draft class is not considered to be the strongest, the 2021 class is expected to be loaded with talent, possibly even with its attributes, a very valuable pick.

Still, if the Rockets actually do a full rebuild and trade Harden and Westbrook, why do Covington have to leave so soon? Certainly Houston could wait to trade him until the two superstars went and created a bidding war between several competing teams in which Covington’s services could be used. The first round’s two encounters are a solid point, but the Rockets can win a young player as well as another team for the future. Either way, the move signals that Houston is in the process of selling off pieces, meaning a remodel may be in sight.

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