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Houston's move that wasn't

Feb 19, 2010, 11:46 AM EDT

The Rockets had a busy trade deadline, and will welcome Kevin Martin, Jared Jeffries, Jordan Hill, and Hilton Armstrong to the team this weekend. But Houston GM Daryl Morey could have had his fingerprints all over another blockbuster deal, though this time in an out-of-the-blue attempt to land some star-power. From ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and J.A. Adande:

The deadline indeed passed at 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon with [Amar'e] Stoudemire still in Phoenix, but only after the Suns and Houston Rockets engaged in 11th-hour discussions, according to sources close to the situation. One source told ESPN.com’s J.A. Adande that the Rockets — fresh off constructing a three-team blockbuster that sent Tracy McGrady to New York and landed Kevin Martin in Houston — offered veterans Shane Battier and Luis Scola, multiple draft picks and the expiring contract of Brian Cook for Stoudemire.

It’s unclear why exactly the deal fell apart (Stein and Adande offer a few possibilities in their analysis), but I have two thoughts:

  • Talent-wise, this trade would’ve been a steal for Houston. Shane Battier and Luis Scola are fine role players, but Stoudemire is a scoring machine with both range and power. He’d be a free agent in the summer and that’s concerning, but Houston would have the inside track on resigning him since they would possess his Bird rights.
  • This trade would’ve been the most un-Morey thing I’ve ever seen. Throughout his time with the Rockets, Morey has assembled a roster of overachievers; Houston’s rotation is lined with guys giving maximum effort who play smart basketball. Battier and Scola fit the mold perfectly, but Stoudemire? Not so much. Amare’e’s biggest enemy has always been himself, as his mental game could never keep pace with his impressive physique.

If Morey had landed Stoudemire, the buzz in Houston today would be incalculable. But is it the possible the Rockets are better off sticking with what they have, and avoiding all the headaches that come with Stoudemire’s impressive game?

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