Well that didn’t take long.
One day after I said Houston would stand pat at least for two days, they are back in the trade market, reportedly agreeing to trade Samuel Dalembert and the No. 14 pick to Milwaukee in exchange for the No. 12 pick, Shaun Livingston, Jon Brockman and Jon Leuer.
It is of the utmost importance to state that Samuel Dalembert is the best player in this deal, and by quite a long way. It is also of the utmost importance to establish that, one way or another, Houston wasn’t keeping him beyond this summer. Dalembert was signed to a two-year deal that had less than 25 percent guaranteed this season for a reason: to make him tradeable at this time of the season. It is not a surprise, therefore, that he was traded this week.
What is a surprise is what he was dealt for. Dalembert, a legitimately decent starting center in the NBA, was just traded for two backups, one spare part, and a move-up of two spots in tomorrow’s draft. Considering his production (8/7/2 in 22 minutes per game) and relative contract value (signed for $6,698,565 next year, only $1.5 million of which is guaranteed), you’d think he’d garner more than that, be it as a player or as a contract. Alas, it seems that he has not.
What Houston absolutely and totally did not need was more fringe players. What they got was more fringe players. Shaun Livingston’s sporadic career has crescendoed with a couple of solid years of bench play. However, he only has value to this Houston team if Goran Dragic is not retained. (And since Dragic is better than Livingston, Shaun’s arrival should not prevent this.) Meanwhile, Leuer is coming off the back of a pretty good rookie campaign, yet still only projects to be somewhere between Eduardo Najera and Jared Jeffries, a solid rotational player with little projectability. He too is a “he’s not bad” caliber player, the kind of player you wouldn’t mind having on your team, but feel no envy at not having them either. As we’ve seen, Houston pretty much only has players like that.