It's that time of year, so take this as you will.
[b]Houston radio today is reporting that the Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz are discussing a trade that would land Carlos Boozer in Houston in exchange for Ron Artest and Luis Scola. There is no confirmation from either side of the equation, and no reason to believe this is anything more than a rumor.
Let's take a look at this, however. It makes great sense for the Utah Jazz to be interested in Luis Scola. He's a hard-nosed Jerry Sloan type of player who loves the defensive end of the floor and will happily come off the bench if that's what's asked of him. He gives it all out on the court and never takes a play off.
What about Ron Artest? Sure, Artest is one of the best defenders in the NBA, but anyone who knows anything about Jerry Sloan will tell you there's little chance he would approve such a deal, and you have to know that the Jazz don't make moves without Sloan's stamp of approval. Artest is one of the more volatile personalities in the league, and Sloan isn't the kind of coach who will tolerate that - not even a little. It might be a match made in heaven, but it might also be a powder keg just waiting to explode.
On the flip side we have Boozer heading to Houston. On the surface, Boozer would be the best power forward the Rockets have ever had. Not since Otis Thorpe have they had a true star power forward, and Boozer is better than OT was on his best day . . .when he's healthy.
Sound like a broken record to you? It does to me. Why on earth the Rockets would want to bring in another guy who only manages to play in two-thirds of his team's games is beyond me. Boozer has a long history of injuries over his short NBA career, and he's not even healthy right now. In his four-plus seasons with the Jazz Boozer has appeared in just 251 of 381 games (67%), and though he has been dominant at times, consistently averaging better than 20 points and around 11 rebounds, that doesn't help when you're sitting on the bench.
It's easy to see where this rumor is coming from. The Jazz have seen Paul Millsap explode in the absense of Carlos Boozer, all but replacing Boozer's stats. Boozer can opt-out this summer and become a free agent, but in the current economic climate he may decide not to do that. His biggest suitor was expected to be Miami, but their acquisition of Jermaine O'Neal means they won't be looking for any front court help this summer after all. The Jazz are thinking more about wrapping up Millsap long-term than Boozer. Artest's ending contract would give them some cap room and Scola is a bargain at just over $3 million per season.
But for this trade to go down we'd have to believe that Artest and Sloan would get along, which is a stretch, and that the Rockets are willing to take on another injury-prone starter, which is an equal stretch.
The Rockets have played some of their best basketball when Tracy McGrady has been out and Artest has started in his place. That made it easy to believe the inside scoop we got that the Rockets were calling around and gauging interest in McGrady. Apparently McGrady got wind of it, too, as he quickly decided he was probably done for the season due to a knee injury he sustained and had surgery to correct last year. With or without McGrady the Rockets are a solid playoff team in the West. If they're without McGrady and also trade Artest, they could miss the playoffs altogether.
Rockets fans in Houston are hearing this rumor all over the airwaves today, but don't take it for anything more than it is
Edited by magicbalala245, February 14, 2009 - 05:39 PM.