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Houston Rockets’ Gaggle Of Guards: Bring Me Luther’s Head

For those of you unaware of the story behind my enduring love affair with the Houston Rockets, it began with on my fifth birthday when my father gave me a San Diego Rockets commemorative basketball. Yes, that's right, there was once an NBA team in San Diego (aside from the hapless Clippers — and the Conquistadors don't count, they were an ABA team).

Why am I mentioning this? Because my other favourite team has a logjam in the backcourt, and the Celtics are pretty weak at the 1-spot.

After Rafer Alston's shaky 2007 season, the Houston Rockets were no longer comfortable with him at the point position. Under Jeff Van Gundy's offense, Luther Head was a combo guard, so the Rockets went out to find Rafer's long-term replacement. In the 2007 draft they selected Aaron Brooks to shore up the point. But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum — they decided against bringing Van Gundy back. Instead they brought in Rick Adelman, and then proceeded to unload Juwan Howard on Minnesota in exchange for Mike James and signed Steve Francis after his release by Portland. Suddenly, Luther Head's position seems a little crowded.

So as of now there's a surfeit of guards in Houston (keeping in mind that they still have Bonzi Wells under contract), and the Rockets are looking to deal for future picks. They'd like to rid themselves of Alston and Bob Sura (expiring deal), but Alston's contract is unappetizing enough (3/$14.7 million) that the best they may be able to expect is Antoine Walker in return from Miami (same money as Sura/Alston, but he'd at least be a valuable trade chip on draft day in 2009). They're also looking at dealing John Lucas XXIV, but given that he's an undersized point guard he won't get them much of anything in return. So, they're apparently considering moving Head.

Officially they're denying it, and picked up his option. But the most telling quote from Darryl Morey in the story is this one (emphasis added), "We'll definitely pick up his option. He is worth more with his option picked up, and he is a part of our plans for the future."

New Rockets coach Rick Adelman has already re-listed Head as a shooting guard, putting him in competition with Tracy McGrady, Shane Battier, and Wells for playing time. So despite Morey's overt denials he apparently is available. As he's going into his third season he should be ready to make the jump. He is the same height as former Rivers' favourite Delonte West, though he has better physicals and handles. He has a very nice shot (aFG% .564) and scores efficiently; his PP/FGA number was 1.17. In Boston, on the floor with the big three, that would probably increase as he'd be able to drive a little more than he did last year.

So, the question is, is he worth a future first and would he plug the hole here in Boston? Can a deal be made? A three-way deal might be possible with Atlanta, with Bob Sura and Tony Allen going to the Hawks, Brian Scalabrine, Salim Stoudamire and a first going to Houston, and Zaza "Count" Pachulia and Lutehead coming to Boston. It would plug Boston's depth problem at the PF/C spot, give them a starter at the 1 that fits well with their big three and allows Rajon Rondo to come in off the bench.

So, c'mon Danny, we need some Head. I can dream, can't I?

About E.H. Munro

  • Jonathan H.

    The trade wouldn’t work becaus the Rockets are looking to UNLOAD salary cap space. The move would add players and money they don’t need. The players the Rockets should get rid of are John Lucas, Rafer Alston, Steve Novak and Bob Sura’s expiring contract. Unless Boston or Atlanta has a legit power forward they are looking to move then the trade makes sense for only the Celtics.

    Also the Celtics are overrated and not 1 regular season game has been played yet.

  • http://hoopsboston.com E. H. Munro

    Well, yes, they’d have to buy out Salim Stoudamire, but that wouldn’t be very expensive. In the unedited version I did make a joke about the trade (which has been foreshortened). Boston should still be looking to acquire Head because they need someone better than Eddie House to play the 1 (outside Rajon Rondo whose shot is so bad he couldn’t hit me with a ten gauge from point blank range).