Marc Stein of ESPN has reported that the Houston Rockets are interested in a potential Iman Shumpert deal in advance of Thursday’s trade deadline, per league sources.
Houston expressed interest in acquiring Cleveland's Iman Shumpert in advance of Thursday's NBA trade deadline, according to league sources.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 22, 2017
The news comes just one day after the Rockets traded Corey Brewer and a 1st-round pick to the Los Angeles Lakers for Lou Williams. Houston appears to be very active at the deadline, attempting to shore up their roster that’s currently in 3rd place in the Western Conference, in an effort to make a run at the Golden State Warriors.
Shumpert is 26 years old, and on year two of a four-year deal that will pay him $9.7 million this season and $10.3 million next season. The Rockets interest is likely in Shumpert’s abilities as a perimeter defender and floor-spacer who can supplement the lethal tandem of James Harden and Eric Gordon with solid defense from the wing. Shump is averaging 7.8 points and 2.9 rebounds per game this season, and shooting 40.3 percent from three. He’s a relatively young, cost-controlled improvement over the Rockets’ current stable of veteran wings, which includes Trevor Ariza and the now-traded Brewer.
For the Cleveland Cavaliers, there isn’t much incentive to do a deal with Houston. Houston does have cap space and assets to move in order to acquire Shumpert, but the options available don’t really make the Cavs better. A swap for Trevor Ariza makes the most sense, as Ariza is a bigger and more versatile defender than Shump, and he has historically been a better three-point shooter than him. But Ariza’s been significantly worse shooting the ball this year (35.3 percent from three), turns 32 in June, and only has one more year on his deal, worth $7.4 million. the cap savings for the Cavs on a one-for-one swap wouldn’t be significant.
Another option could be a deal centered around Patrick Beverley and one of Houston’s young players - Sam Dekker, K.J. McDaniels, Chinanu Onuaku, or Montrezl Harrell. The Rockets would need to attach one of these players to Beverley to make salaries match. This is a much more attractive option for the Cavs, as Beverley provides them with another secondary ball-handler, and his bulldog defense at the point of attack is a definite upgrade for what the Cavs need over Shumpert. Add in a young development piece that could become a useful shooter (Dekker), defender (McDaniels), or rim protector (Onuaku), and that’s good return for the Cavs’ most tradable asset. However, one has to think that’s a little too good for the Rockets, as a move from Beverley to Shumpert is a clear downgrade defensively for a team that already suffers from a lack of potent on-ball defense.
Right now, it doesn’t really make sense for the Cavs and Rockets to do a Shumpert deal. He’s a valuable role player, but both teams are probably better off with their rosters as currently constructed. We will see if there are any legs to this deal in the coming hours.
Per ESPN, the Cavs are interested in acquiring Beverly, but the Rockets aren’t interested in dealing him.
More on the Houston/Cleveland trade talks: The Cavs want Rockets G Patrick Beverley in an Iman Shumpert deal, according to league sources.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 22, 2017