It's official, or as official as things can be in Houston GM Daryl Morey's world. The Houston Rockets are rebuilding.
Through a series of shake-em-ups now has the team dealing point guard Kyle Lowry to the Toronto Raptors for a future first-round pick. This follows the departure of fellow point man Goran Dragic who went back to Phoenix, and the addition of pretty much no one, but Micheal Redd and Samuel Dalembert during the off-season.
Somehow, Lowry's departure is both the most surprising and the most obvious of Houston's offseason machinations. The dogged point man made waves during the off-season by suggesting that he couldn't work under coach Kevin McHale, and that the team should look to trade him should Houston decide to hang on to the Hall of Fame (um, as a player …) coach. A rash of draft-related trade rumors sparked up, with one such line seemingly tossing the unhappy Lowry to the Toronto Raptors for Harrison Barnes after the draft. Instead, the Rockets waited until things fell apart, and sent Lowry away for … we don't know.
It's going to be a lottery pick, we know as much. Protected out of the lower 16 picks of the draft , in a move I cannot recall a mirrored one for in years of covering the NBA. It's also protected out of the top three next year, the top two in 2014 and 2015, and first overall in 2016. If the Raptors have a terrible time in the winnin' business over that span and luck out with those considerations, they'll also keep the pick. This is also where we remind you that Lowry has two years left on a contract that will pay him $12 million over that span (the final year the Raptors could even waive, should they decide to, and keep all but a million of the savings); a contract that might be the best value for production deal amongst NBA players that aren't on their initial rookie deals.
Lowry has been around since 2006, but he's only 26 even after six years of service. This puts him, like we mentioned with Goran Dragic as he scampered back to Phoenix, in the good-enough position of being old enough to be relied on by a young and flighty Toronto team, but young enough to be around (should the team extend him as a Raptor beyond 2014) if things finally pick up with a Raptor team that has made it out of the first round of the playoffs just once since the team's entrance into the NBA in 1995.
Sources say the Rockets will look to sign restricted free agent Aaron Brooks who was over in China last year.