The Rockets were looking for help and it appears they’ve found it, looping in the Cavaliers and Kings for a three-team trade.
The Houston Rockets are getting some wing help, having acquired Iman Shumpert in a three-team trade with the Sacramento Kings and Cleveland Cavaliers, as first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Rockets will send guard Brandon Knight, forward Marquese Chriss and a 2019 lottery protected first-round pick to the Cavaliers. The Cavaliers will send guard Alec Burks to the Kings, as well as guards Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin, who were acquired on Sunday from the Portland Trail Blazers, to the Rockets.
There’s quite a bit happening here for all sides. For Houston, they get the depth on the perimeter that they’ve been seeking for quite some time. They were rumored to be offering Knight and a first as their primary package to do just that, and they banked those chips in this deal. Shumpert was an important contributor for the Kings this season.
Having started 40 games, he was the team’s primary perimeter defender. He’s also shooting 36.6 percent on 4.8 3-point attempts per game. He’ll give Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni a defensive option should they meet the better perimeter scoring threats — such as Kevin Durant and Paul George — in the playoffs. With Shumpert making $11 million this season on an expiring contract, the trade will also free Houston from paying the $15.6 million Knight is owed next season.
The Cavaliers continue to stack up draft picks. After trading Kyle Korver to the Utah Jazz for Burks and a pair of second-round picks in late November, they’ve now flipped Burks for a first-round pick. They’ve essentially turned Korver into three drafts picks.
As The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd wrote before the deadline, a Burks trade wasn’t going to be popular in the Cavaliers locker room, as many of his teammates hoped he’d remain in Cleveland long term. Burks’ contract expires this summer. Knight and Chriss will likely compete for playing time. Chriss struggled to get playing time after being traded from the Phoenix Suns to Houston earlier in the season and reportedly requested a trade. Playing time could be tough to find in Cleveland, too. The Cavaliers have Ante Zizic and Larry Nance Jr. at center, with Kevin Love potentially returning this season.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Kings will also be getting a second-round pick from Cleveland. Shumpert is a free agent after this season, so they procure a pick rather than risk him walk away for nothing.
The move will likely lead to Bogdan Bogdanovic sliding into the starting backcourt next to De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield, with Burks coming off the bench for an added scoring punch. Burks averaged 11.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 34 games for the Cavaliers.
As a fun twist to this trade, the Rockets were in Sacramento to play the Kings as the trade materialized, with Shumpert down the hallway from his new teammates. Shumpert is also a fashion guy — another reason why he should fit well with Chris Paul and James Harden.