According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, the Houston Rockets didn’t want to entirely devote to smaller lineups as part of their flurry of moves at this past season’s trade deadline in February 2020.
Rather, it took place in part due to the fact that an organized offer for a recognized backup center didn’t work out following the smash hit trade of center Clint Capela for versatile forward Robert Covington.Per MacMahon, Houston’s target was Nerlens Noel of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Here’s how he described it on Zach Lowe’s podcast: They obviously went all in on micro-ball, but they thought at the time that they might find a deal big man. If Clint Capela was a full-service Marriott, they thought they could discover a Yard by Marriott kind of huge male to at least be in the rotation. For instance, they had conversations prior to the trade deadline and were optimistic and thought that they might get a deal done to generate Nerlens Noel. The Firecrackers did trade for Bruno Caboclo in the final hours prior to the due date, in hopes that he might possibly fill a comparable function.
Nevertheless, he struggled in restricted chances with the Rockets.As for Noel, the deal likely fell apart due to the fact that the Thunder were much closer to contention than expected, and hence less likely to be a seller at the deadline.(Oklahoma City, obviously, wound up pressing the Rockets to 7 video games in a firmly objected to first-round playoff series.) Now 26 years of ages, Noel averaged 7.4 points( 68.4 %FG), 4.9 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in 18.5 minutes per game this season. Noel made the minimum salary and is set to become a totally free agent this offseason, so he very plausibly might once again end up being a target by the Firecrackers– assuming they still want the option of bigger lineups. As an athletic center, he could possibly supply both rim protection on defense and a lob risk on offense (like Capela did)as a pick-and-roll partner for James Harden. Noel was the No. 6 general pick in the 2013 NBA Draft by Philadelphia. Throughout his career, he’s played 4 seasons with the Sixers; one season in Dallas; and the last 2 in Oklahoma City, where he played together with existing Firecrackers star Russell Westbrook in the 2018-19 campaign.