Oct 30, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard K.J. McDaniels (32) dribbles the ball as Dallas Mavericks guard Deron Williams (8) defends during the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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In a minor move, the Brooklyn Nets will take a flier on the Houston Rockets’ rarely used wing, K.J. McDaniels. Here are the NBA Trade Grades for the move.
The Brooklyn Nets entered the 2017 NBA Trade Deadline searching for fliers and future first round draft picks. The Houston Rockets entered the deadline searching for added depth, but needed to get back under the salary cap if they wanted to do so.
Nov 12, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) handles the ball outside while Houston Rockets guard K.J. McDaniels (32) defends during the third quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
After trading for Lou Williams earlier this week, the Rockets had solidified their backcourt depth and tried to strengthen their three-point efficiency to contend with the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs in the West.
This deal doesn’t really move them much closer to contention, but it does make them a potential candidate for players who get bought out at the deadline, putting them $3.3 million under the salary cap:
The Rockets now are $3.3m below the salary cap with 14 guaranteed contracts.
The merit of dumping McDaniels for a heavily protected second-rounder will be influenced by what the Rockets are able to pick up on the buy-out market. Houston could use another wing after shipping away Corey Brewer, although small-ball 4 Sam Dekker could be moved to the 3 in a pinch.
The 24-year-old McDaniels was only averaging 2.8 points in 7.3 minutes per game for the Rockets this season. Though he averaged a promising 9.2 points and 1.3 blocks per game in his rookie year with the Philadelphia 76ers, his potential was never going to materialize in Houston.
Giving up on players with upside is an unfortunate side effect of trying to contend for championships, but with decent players about to be waived (Terrence Jones, anyone?), the Rockets could replace him to fit their needs better.
Feb 19, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets new general manager Sean Marks speaks to the media during a press conference before a game against the New York Knicks at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The Nets didn’t walk away with anything major from this year’s trade deadline, but snagging a 2017 first-rounder, a flier on an ugly contract in Andrew Nicholson and a filer on a much more team friendly contract in K.J. McDaniels represents a pretty solid haul.
In Houston, McDaniels never got his chance to shine. This was actually his most productive season for the team, but in total, he played a grand total of 76 games over two and a half seasons.
At only 24 years old, McDaniels is the exact kind of player the Nets need to be taking fliers on. He’s still young, he has great athleticism and he was one of the best shot-blockers at his position as a rookie — not just among rookies that year, but among all NBA shooting guards.
He and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson could be a lot of fun defensively on the wing, and even if he doesn’t pan out, all it took to pry him away from Houston was a heavily protected second-rounder. His $3.5 million team option for the 2017-18 season is a more than fair price for a youngster with potential.
Again, this wasn’t some earth-shattering deal, but it gives general manager Sean Marks a look at another flier talent as he tries to acquire youth and future draft picks despite Brooklyn’s barren cupboard of assets.