Grade the trade: Hawks land pair of former 1st-round picks from Rockets

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Galen Yilmaz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) /

Rockets Grade: C+

The Rockets ran through their cap space quickly with deals to bring in Toronto Raptors free agent Fred VanVleet and Dillons Brooks – the latter via sign-and-trade with the Memphis Grizzlies – adding $62-plus million to the ledger for 2023-24.

They also spent another $20 million combined on the trio of forward Jeff Green, center Jock Landale, and veteran guard Patty Mills who was acquired in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets.

Houston adds this crop of accomplished (and pricey) veterans that come with plenty of playoff experience and even a trio of championships to a young, talented core that includes No. 4 overall pick Amen Thompson, 2022 No. 3 overall pick Jabari Smith, and 2021 No. 2 overall pick Jalen Green.

But none of that has anything to do with this deal.

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It’s hard to even give it the grade it received given all the Rockets received in return was Kaba who the Hawks drafted with the No. 30 overall pick in 2017. Houston is also making cost-cutting moves after tying the San Antonio Spurs for the second-worst record in the NBA last season.

Their new additions should have a positive impact but that is a lot to ask with none of them necessarily being game-changers in their own right.

Brooks was even a detriment to the Grizzlies in the postseason.

Again, though, that has no sway in how we grade the Rockets’ trade with the Hawks. And, if the two teams decide to re-visit the Capela talks with Houston missing out on Brook Lopez who returned to the Milwaukee Bucks on a two-year, $48 million contract this season, both teams could receive new grades.

As it stands, the Rockets accomplished their goal but paid a fairly steep price to do it.

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