ESPN’s Marc Stein reported earlier this morning that the Houston Rockets have targeted Sacramento Kings center Kosta Koufos to presumably replace Clint Capela while Capela recovers from a fractured left fibula. The Rockets need a defense-first big man to patrol the paint, and that is exactly what Koufos is.
Trade rumble: Houston has made no secret of its desire to add a big man and the Kings' Kosta Koufos, I'm told, has emerged as a prime target— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 30, 2016
The Rockets made sense as a Kosta Koufos destination the moment Capela went down, but thanks to Stein’s report, we no longer have to speculate. It’s a real thing that could definitely happen.
In a somewhat related report, ESPN’s Zach Lowe gave us some insight into who the Rockets are trying to move.
Have heard from a few teams HOU is dangling Brewer, which isn't getting them much traction. https://t.co/Lmtv6Ix2dZ— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) December 30, 2016
The Kings have had previous interest in Brewer, namely under the George Karl regime, but it’s hard to argue that his value is anything above nothing right now.
I don’t hate Brewer as a please take this contract off our hands to make the trade work guy. He’s only 30, and while (unfortunately) under contract for $7.6 million next season, that is hardly a back-breaking contract. Brewer has a decent history of playing tough defense, and always struck me as a player who played hard whenever he was on the court. You could do worse than those characteristics for salary filler. I’m not a huge fan, but it’s a flier I could live with.
As Lowe stated, Brewer alone isn’t going to get the Rockets much of anything, let alone a valuable center under a good long-term contract like Kosta Koufos. From the Kings perspective, considering Willie Cauley-Stein’s stalled development, I don’t know if they are in a huge rush to move Koufos like they might have been this offseason. I’m not in a rush, anyway. I don’t think Koufos is a great fit next to DeMarcus Cousins in the starting lineup, but I like Koufos a lot as the third big, or backup center in just about any rotation. The Kings shouldn’t, and seemingly won’t, give that away for nothing.
That begs the question, if Corey Brewer isn’t getting the deal done, who is?
Patrick Beverley is the pipe dream. You’re not getting him for Koufos straight up, but just in terms of what the Kings need, and who they’ve expressed interest in previously, Beverley is a likely player the Kings will try to negotiate for. Houston is having a good season, though, and that makes prying an important piece to their puzzle like Beverley very difficult.
There has been enough Sacramento Kings - Houston Rockets smoke this season to suggest that something between these two teams could actually get done by the February 23rd trade deadline. Houston had expressed interest in also-available Sacramento King Rudy Gay earlier this season, making the ESPN Trade Machine scenarios endless.