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Rockets not looking for picks, they want to trade for an All-Star

Dec 30, 2010, 1:19 PM EDT

Denver Nuggets v Houston Rockets

There are two sides to building a championship roster: Getting a couple All-Star players to lead it; then finding quality role players to go around them.

When Daryl Morey took over as general manager of the Rockets the stars were in place — Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. Morey built maybe the best group of role players in the league (or certainly up there with Los Angeles and Boston) to go around them. The problem is, the stars got injured and never came through.

Now the Rockets are at a crossroads and are mentioned in virtually every trade rumor under the sun, but what they really want back is an All-Star, according to Alex Kennedy at Hoopsworld.

The team has had conversations centered around Yao Ming and are asking for prospects, picks, and ending contracts in return. Though his health is still up in the air, Yao brings plenty to the table when it comes to the team’s sales and exposure. That’s why it will take a very attractive package for Houston to part with Yao.…

Kevin Martin is in a similar boat. Teams have approached the Rockets with offers for Martin, but management won’t budge. When the Orlando Magic offered Marcin Gortat for Martin prior to completing their six-player trade with the Phoenix Suns, Houston declined and instead countered with a deal involving Courtney Lee. Like Yao, Martin won’t be moved unless he’s included in a package that would bring back a superstar, such as Carmelo Anthony.

Melo is the kind of scorer the Rockets really want and could use, but there’s the sticky situation of Houston not being on the list of teams where he has said he will sign an extension (there may be only one team on that list). If Anthony’s stance softens and the Nuggets figure out what they really want, there might be a deal there. But that’s a couple big hurdles in the way.

So the Rockets keep looking or the star to put in the middle of their role players, something that would instantly vault the team up the standings in the West.

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