Rockets Trade For Blazers’ Robert Williams III In Bold Proposal

Robert Williams III, Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

At some point, every NBA team has to rebuild. Typically, they’ll start the process after trying – and failing – to win an NBA title. When a team reaches the end of its contention run, they need to start over. Just ask fans of the Houston Rockets.

For quite some time, this team was contending. With James Harden as their franchise player, the Rockets were always in the mix for the title. They never won it, with Harden leading the charge. Three years ago, they began rebuilding. They’re entering the 2023-24 season, hoping to return to competitive basketball.

By contrast, the Portland Trail Blazers are beginning their rebuilding process. This team traded Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks this offseason. If they’re not on pace to land a high lottery pick leading up to this year’s deadline, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they made another major trade. Could they send Robert Williams III to the Rockets?

The Trade Proposal

Portland Trail Blazers Receive: G/F Kevin Porter Jr., 2025 First-Round Pick (Swap – HOU or BKN) 
Houston Rockets Receive: C Robert Williams III, C Moses Brown 

Do the Blazers have to gun for a top lottery pick next season? Not necessarily. Some fans will suggest that that’s not their best path forward. They’ll suggest that if the Blazers are competitive, they ought to be happy with that.

You can make either case. Yes, it would benefit this team’s young players to start winning quickly. You could also argue that the Blazers have enough young talent – they can let someone else mine the lottery for top-end talent. Sure. At the same time, there are risks involved in that philosophy as well.

NBA TRADES, NEWS & RUMORS: Robert Williams III, Portland Trail Blazers & Houston Rockets Updates

Suppose the Blazers win 35 games this season. Suppose that Jerami Grant, a veteran, was a key part of that success. Next year, he begins to age. Meanwhile, Shaedon Sharpe hasn’t developed into a superstar yet. Now, Portland wishes they’d tanked for a high lottery pick. Should they send the Rockets Williams III to tank?

Why The Portland Trail Blazers Do The Deal

There’s a lot to cover here. Let’s start with Kevin Porter Jr. He was accused of a horrendous act of domestic assault this summer. We know Porter Jr. did something terrible. Whether he’ll play another second in the NBA is up for debate.

It doesn’t matter to the Trail Blazers. They’re only acquiring him for his contract. They’d cut him as soon as they were legally able to do so. Suddenly, Portland would open up some significant cap room. That’s the benefit of trading for Porter Jr.’s contract.

NBA TRADES, NEWS & RUMORS: Robert Williams III, Portland Trail Blazers & Houston Rockets Updates

Yet, they’re not going to flip Williams III for salary relief alone. That’s why Portland is landing a first-round pick here. Frankly, they’re lucky to land such an asset for a player who gets injured as often as Williams III. Should the Rockets really forfeit that pick for Williams III?

Why The Houston Rockets Do The Deal

One thing is clear: the Rockets want to improve this season. By all accounts, they’ve put an emphasis on defense. Ime Udoka is known to be a defensive-minded coach, and the Rockets have picked up defensive stalwarts like Dillon Brooks, Fred VanVleet, Jeff Green, and Reggie Bullock throughout the offseason.

The Rockets should improve, too. Their defense should be improved next year. At the same time, they’re still lacking a defensive anchor. Alperen Sengun is gifted offensively, but he struggles to protect the rim. Jock Landale has some defensive value, but he’s more of a backup than a starter. On the other hand, Williams III, when healthy, is one of the best defensive big men in the NBA.

NBA TRADES, NEWS & RUMORS: Robert Williams III, Portland Trail Blazers & Houston Rockets Updates

Unfortunately, he is often injured. This is a gamble for the Rockets. If Williams III can get healthy, it’ll pay off tremendously. Meanwhile, the Rockets can take some time to see whether they’re better with Sengun or Williams III in the middle. Sometimes, those decisions are part of rebuilding, too.

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