With Clint Capela expected to be sidelined until late January due to a leg injury, the Rockets are probing the trade market for available bigs, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter). Since the trade deadline is still more than two months away, teams may not be compelled to deal quite yet, so the most likely scenario is that Houston gives Capela’s minutes to players like Nene and Montrezl Harrell, per Wojnarowski.
While Nerlens Noel has been the most-discussed trade candidate over the last few days, there are several big men around the NBA believed to be available. Greg Monroe has long been on the block in Milwaukee, and players like Kosta Koufos, Andrew Bogut, and Kenneth Faried have been mentioned as trade candidates in recent months, though their teams aren’t necessarily looking to move them right now. As Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer details, a handful of teams around the NBA have frontcourt logjams, so there could be a few potential matches for Houston.
Free agency is also an option for the Rockets, though the team would have to open up a spot on its 15-man roster to sign someone. The most notable big man on the free agent market also seems unlikely to sign with Houston — Donatas Motiejunas is now an unrestricted free agent, after enduring a contract standoff with the Rockets that lasted several months.
While it’s worth keeping an eye on the Rockets in the coming weeks, the team would probably be more inclined to make a move if Capela’s injury was projected to keep him out for most or all of the season. According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Houston is still waiting for “final medical intel” on Capela’s injury, but is expecting him to miss about four to six weeks. That timeline would put him on track to return well before the February 23 trade deadline.